photo of faculty member Ruth Middleton-House

Ruth Middleton-House, EdD

In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, faculty member Ruth Middleton-House, of the Organizational Development & Leadership MA, incorporated some native customs and cultures into her Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends.

Here’s what she said, and did:

Before our traditional Thanksgiving Prayer, I mentioned that First Peoples directly thanked each element of our amazing environment: the earth, the sun, the water, and so on. Then. as an illustration, I read aloud the Tewa Indian Prayer that I often read to my son when he was young:

THAT WE MAY WALK FITTINGLY

O our Mother the Earth, O our Father the Sky,

Your children are we, and with tired backs

We bring you the gifts you love.

Then weave for us a garment of brightness;

May the warp be the white light of morning,

May the weft be the red light of evening,

May the fringes be the falling rain,

May the border be the standing rainbow.

Thus weave for us a garment of brightness,

That we may walk fittingly where birds sing,

That we may walk fittingly where grass is green,

O our Mother the Earth, O our Father the Sky.

——The Tewa Indians of North America

In Here a Little Child I Stand

Next, I read the first stanza of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address. We said “Now our minds are one” in unison as a responsive reading. I gave each person one stanza on a separate piece of paper. One by one throughout the evening, each guest read his or her stanza, we repeated “Now our minds are one” in unison, and the reader shared something he or she had learned about First Peoples.

I was a bit over-confident about one activity. I thought we would be able to replicate a First Peoples “cup song” after watching the beautiful video below.¬†We need a job aid, perhaps a diagram, and lots and lots of practice. I am determined to have it down by next year!