#Indigenous #poem #Native #Thanksgiving We thank the Great Spirit

Canadian Thanksgiving is today. Monday October 10, 2016.

I chose the sentences of this prayer that remind me of why we protest, protect and why we give thanks.
So many lovely turns of phrases: “trees that grow shadows”; “the light which we call our oldest brother” and “the kind being of the darkness that gives us light.” They all turn around how we think of things in our world. In western art and science shadows exist when something stands in the light and another part of it does not, we centre the light and the relation instead of the tree. The moon here is someone who belongs with us instead of an object that serves us, that revolves around us, that creates ebb and flow. The moon a kind being of the darkness, where darkness is not immediately frightening, does not first and foremost hold danger; blackness as kindness.

Giving thanks for the workers who took care of and brought in the harvest. Thanking the singers. Thanking those who hold ceremonies. Thanking all the women who do all this cooking -still.  
Enjoy your family and if you don’t have any, go out and walk in the sun, be outside, roll yourself to a park.

The Thanksgivings
Harriet Maxwell Converse

Translated from a traditional Iroquois prayer

[…] We thank the Great Spirit for the water that comes out of the earth and runs
for our lands.
[…]
We thank the Great Spirit for the branches of the trees that grow shadows
for our shelter.
We thank the Great Spirit for … the thunder
and lightning that water the earth.

We thank the Great Spirit for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun
that works for our good.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank the Great Spirit for the goodness in making the forests,

and thank
all its trees.
We thank the Great Spirit for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being
of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank the Great Spirit for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,
the stars.
We give the Great Spirit thanks for our workers, who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard
through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
[…]
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies
on this occasion.

“Reconciling Life With Death,” Early Verses by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, ship’s doctor.

Early Verses by Jan Jacob Slauerhoff, ship’s doctor. Loose translation by me.

Autumn comes with storm and gusts of wind around the forests
Those, moaning, shake their leafage loose,
Make bunched-up-fruits cascade from branches,
Over-ripe summer fruit plop down to earth,
In moist soil-layers silently forming,
Composting into elemental matter:
All life obeys the seasons.
 
This then is reconciling life with death:
That all harvests are rooted in decaying matter;
That drab gray grounds paint roses blushing red;
That out of moulding thickets; out of the unwanted,
A Freedom will arise, a blossoming laden with fruit.

— Eerste Verzen. J.J. Slauerhoff

Herfst komt met storm en floersen om de bosschen
Die van hun loover kreunend zich verlossen,
Doet vruchtentrossen uit de takken storten,
Het vooze zomerooft ten gronde ploffen,
In vochtige bodemlagen stil verworden,
Verteren tot oorspronkelijke stoffen:
Het leven is gehoorzaam aan seizoenen.
 .

Dit is het leven met den dood verzoenen:
Dat alle oogsten wortlen in het doode,
Dat grauwe gronden rozen overrooden;
Uit de vermolmde woeker, het verfoeisel,
Zal Vrijheid stijgen, een volvruchtig bloeisel.