With one mind, we turn to honor and thank all the Plant Foods we harvest from the garden. Since the beginning of time, the grains, vegetables, beans, and berries have helped the people survive. Many other living things draw strength from them, too. We gather all the Plant Foods together as one and send them a greeting of thanks. Now our minds are one. From the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address THE GANO:NYOK The Haudenosaunee give thanks daily, not just once a year. They give thanks for all things, from the water and sun to the insects and animals. Their thanksgiving address, called the Gano:nyok (ga-NYO-nyok), is a very important part of ceremonial and social gatherings. All social and ceremonial gatherings start and end with the Gano:nyok, which is sometimes called “the words that come before all else.” The Gano:nyok serves as a reminder to appreciate and acknowledge all things. The words express thanks for fellow human beings, Mother Earth, the moon, stars, sun, water, air, winds, animals, and more.
-11- and hunted. Birds such as ducks, geese, wild turkeys, and quail were hunted for food. Women gathered wild foods including berries, nuts, tubers, mushrooms and other edible plants. In the spring, fields were prepared for planting. Women were responsible for the gardens and planted, among other things, three main crops — corn, beans, and squash. These crops were so important to the Haudenosaunee diet that they called them the THREE SISTERS . Eaten together, these three foods provide many of the essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy body and a well-balanced diet. In the early spring families tapped maple trees for syrup. This was also the time when bark was peeled from trees for longhouses, canoes, and bark containers. In the summer, community members spent much time outdoors. Women tended the crops, prepared animal hides for clothing, and cured meat for the winter. Men hunted, fished, and built and repaired longhouses. The fall was the time of year to harvest and store crops for the winter. In the winter, a time when people spent most of their days indoors, women made and repaired clothing while men made and repaired their hunting gear and tools. The long, cold months offered an opportunity to visit with one another and listen to stories. Food was gathered and stored in splint baskets, as well as clay, wooden, and bark containers. Clay vessels were used for cooking. Though basket making is still practiced by Haudenosaunee people, metal vessels obtained from European traders replaced clay and wooden containers. THE THREE SISTERS T he Three Sisters are considered to be divine gifts. They also show how well the Haudenosaunee understood horticulture and ecology hundreds of years before the development of modern farming techniques. Different kinds of beans, corn, and squash grew together in mounds, placed about three feet apart. Cornstalks provided supports for climbing bean vines. Squash leaves provided shade, keeping the soil moist and preventing weeds from choking the crops. In this way, the soil remained fertile for years. When the soil became fallow, the entire village would move to a new location.
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- Fall '09