by Joanne Shenandoah/Lawrence Laughing
(this poem translates Lawrence Laughing's language verbatim)
"In respect to our home the earth, we say thank you to the earth
For everything she gives us, nourishing us every day.
We give thanks to all the water in the world, everything within that water.
We give thanks to all the grass that lives on the land.
We give thanks to all the berries, the fruits, the medicines.
We give thanks to the animals that keep the forests clean.
We give thanks to all the trees for their different uses that they give to us,
For shelters, for fires that we make in the winter time keeping us warm.
We give thanks to the birds who sing their beautiful songs.
We give thanks to the four winds.
We give thanks to the grandfathers, the ones that bring rain.
We give thanks to our oldest brother, the sun, who shines his light every day.
We give thanks to our oldest grandmother, the moon,
For she is the one that has been charged with the duty
To make sure that light has a continuance.
She is the one that watches over all the movements
Of the water and also the water within us.
We give thanks to the stars, her helper.
And we give a special thanksgiving to the four sacred beings
That watch over the human family.
Sometimes we notice them when we are traveling in dangerous places.
They are the ones that come to our minds
And say go around, don't go further
To protect us and steer us away from danger.
So that's what we do.
We start right from the earth and we climb the ladder
Right to the special place beyond the heavens
Where there's a special spirit that lives there,
The spirit that makes it possible for us to be here
And everything that we have mentioned.
And so with collectiveness of our hearts and minds
We send a special thanksgiving and greeting to the spirit of us all."
Prayer for Peace, Lawrence Laughing
Mother Earth, Joanne Shenandoah