Each year, just after Thanksgiving, members of the Westport Land Conservation Trust set aside time to read aloud from Robin Wall Kimmerer’s seminal book Braiding Sweetgrass.
Why this book? Why this chapter? Why read it aloud?
Robin Wall Kimmerer, a member of the Potawatomi Nation, Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, published Braiding Sweetgrass in 2013. In it, she weaves a new way of looking at restoration of the natural and human world, the weft of academia (she holds a PhD in Botany) and the warp of her indigenous understanding.
The chapter “Allegiance to Gratitude” includes the Thanksgiving Address used by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The address gives thanks to all those parts of creation that do their duty each day.
You can listen to an explanation of the Address by Frieda Jacques, a member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
Kimmerer writes about the importance of belonging to something greater than oneself, and the importance of daily gratitude. Also called Greeting and Thanks to the Natural World, the Haudenosaunee address is used daily to give thanks to the land.
The annual reading of this chapter allows us to gather in thanks, to consider each element of our world, and to listen for a response.