Iroquois Thanksgiving Address

We gather with family and friends today to give thanks for all that we are grateful for. One of the most beautiful, whole, and comprehensive givings of thanks I’ve heard is that of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois); their Thanksgiving Address is better described by the Iroquois Indian Museum than by me:

“The Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen means ‘The Words That Come Before All Else.’  It is also referred to as ‘The Thanksgiving Address,’  ‘Giving Greetings to the Natural World,’ or ‘The Opening Address.’ Traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) say these words to begin and end each day, important meetings, ceremonies, and socials.   The Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen is an expression of acknowledgement, greetings, love, and appreciation for every part of the Natural World.  The Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen helps to bring the thoughts of the people together.  It is a way by which the Haudenosaunee remind themselves that human beings are only one strand in the Web of Life and that we are all connected to each other and to the rest of Creation.”

I feel that this thanksgiving has vital meaning for all of us who now occupy “Turtle Island,” the lands of the original people of North America. Perhaps these profoundly beautiful words from those who have lived here long before the rest of us can rise up through us from this ancient ground and help us live right with each other and with this land. They have as much meaning for all of us now as they have had at any time. Indeed, our future depends on thoughts such as these.

“Below is a video presentation featuring Mohawk storyteller Kay Olan’s spoken version of the Thanksgiving Address along with images created by Tuscarora graphic artist Melanie Printup Hope supplemented with additional photographs.”

I post this with the approval of the Iroquois Indian Museum. They ask that we please visit their website and support their museum by donating or becoming a member.

“We are a private non-profit with no line items or support from the government and can use all the help we can get.”

[By the way, if the embedded video below does not show up on your device (e.g., I don’t see it on my iPad; maybe because it is flash), just click on the link below to go to the original location on the Museum’s website.]

Check here for the original web location of this video.



Park Trails on Thanksgiving

It looks like most of our gorge trails in state parks near Ithaca will be open for the Thanksgiving holiday. Buttermilk Glen was rushing with water today after Tuesday night’s rain.

Buttermilk Creek, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca, NY Finger Lakes

After the previous night's rain, Buttermilk Creek was gushing through the gorge.

east side Buttermilk Glen, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca, NY, Finger Lakes

The east side of Buttermilk Glen rises above the creek.

Waterfall, Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca, NY, Finger Lakes

Buttermilk Creek jumps down numerous ledges.

On Monday, I walked into the upper gorge of Enfield Glen in Robert H. Treman State Park. Since September’s flood waters, there are numerous logs left hung up among the rock walls in our area gorges. This is one of the more unusual relics.

Following flooding in Enfield Glen in September, this log was left suspended over the stream, with a loose branch hanging into the water, jiggling around with the current.

I could not go beyond the top of Lucifer Falls, as floodwaters had damaged the trail ahead.

Lucifer Falls, Robert H. Treman State Park, Ithaca, NY, Finger Lakes

Though the trails are still open at Robert H. Treman State Park, from the upper park you can only go as far at the top of 115-feet-high Lucifer Falls.

It will take until next spring to complete repairs of the washed out section. Gorge masons must need to practice non-attachment to their hard work. The back-straining labor of months can be wiped out in a single day.

Gorge Trail in upper Robert H. Treman State Park is partially closed for the season.

You can walk to the top of Lucifer Falls along the Gorge Trail in upper Robert H. Treman State Park to this barricade. The trail beyond was damaged in a September flood and is being repaired, but it will remain closed for the season.

But it is only this section of the Gorge Trail that is closed. The rest of the trails in the park are still open, at least as of today, the day before Thanksgiving.

Stone masonry steps along the Gorge Trail, Lucifer Falls, Robert H. Treman State Park, Ithaca, NY

Masons work hard every year keeping the stone steps in our gorges in good shape.

All trails at Buttermilk Falls and Taughannock Falls State Parks are still open, but the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park has been closed for the season.

It should be a great week to go for a walk in a park (where the shotguns will not be blazing at deer!). Have a happy Thanksgiving!