The Words Before All Else are also known as the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address.
“The Thanksgiving Address (the Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen) is the central prayer and invocation for the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations — Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora). It reflects their relationship of giving thanks for life and the world around them. The Haudenosaunee open and close every social and religious meeting with the Thanksgiving Address.
It is also said as a daily sunrise prayer, and is an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and her inhabitants. The children learn that, according to Native American tradition, people everywhere are embraced as family. Our diversity, like all wonders of Nature, is truly a gift for which we are thankful.” (Source: https://danceforallpeople.com/haudenosaunee-thanksgiving-address/)
Over the past few weeks I’ve been inspired again and again by these words. I discovered them in a talk by Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, then I heard them again while listening to the gorgeous book, Braiding Sweetwater, by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
I hope these words of gratitude inspire you too.