The Words That Come Before All Else (a Thanksgiving Address), are an ancient supplication of the indigenous Six Nations peoples of Northeastern North America, the Mohawks, Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora.
The address is not a prayer, but expresses gratitude and empathic connection to all of creation. Words Before All Else are the words that Haudenosaunee (Ho doe na show knee) people speak before ceremonial and governmental gatherings and some people speak it to start and end their days. It is “Greetings to the Natural World“.
The words address the People, Earth Mother, The Waters, Fish, Plants, Food Plants, Medicine Herbs, Trees, Birds, Four Winds, Thunderers, Sun, Grandfather Moon, Stars, Enlightened Teachers, and The Creator. Each element of the natural world is spoken to and thanked for their contributions to all life. These words bind us and promote empathy with all creation.
The words speak of an understanding and gratefulness to those beings and elements of creation which, by following their instructions, to keep creation running. We as humans need to do out part by following our creator-given instructions, which fit in with the cycle of life here on Earth.
The Tracking Project has a pocket-sized booklet entitled, The Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World, published by the Thanksgiving Address Project and is available in several languages including English/Mohawk, Mohawk/German, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Bisayan, French, Italian and Hawaiian