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Giving Thanks - Powerful Iriquois Message About Appreciation - Alder & Alouette
Giving Thanks - Powerful Iriquois Message About Appreciation - Alder & Alouette

Giving Thanks - A Native American Good Morning Message

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Giving Thanks is a traditional Iroquois celebration of the beauty and spirit of Mother Earth, as told by a contemporary Mohawk chief. This is a wonderful message for Earth Day, Thanksgiving and every day of the year.

For as long as anyone can remember, Mohawk parents have taught their children to start each day by giving thanks to Mother Earth. Also known as the Thanksgiving Address, this good morning message is based on the belief that the natural world is a precious and rare gift. The whole universe - from the highest stars to the tiniest blade of grass - is addressed as one great family.

Now readers of all ages can share in this tribute to the environment, adapted especially for children by Chief Jake Swamp, whose efforts to share this vision of thanksgiving took him all over the world.

Chief Swamp's inspirational message, along with Erwin Printup, Jr.'s unforgettable illustrated landscapes, make Giving Thanks a timeless celebration of the spirit of nature that is still spoken at ceremonial gatherings held by the Iroquois, or Six Nations; a celebration of the spirit of nature we hope you and your family will embrace too.

See and hear a video here of the book. 


  • Reading Rainbow Selection, PBS Kids
  • Editor's Choice, Booklist
  • Choices, Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)
  • Invited to address and attended the United Nations to lead The Thanksgiving Address


  • Giving Thanks
  • Written by Chief Jake Swamp, proud member of the Mohawk Peoples, and illustrated by Erwin Printup, Jr., a Cayuga-Tuscarora painter. 
  • Published by Lee and Low Books, September 25, 1995 (2011).
  • Ages 5 to 11 years
  • 0.17" H x 11.01" L x 7.46" W (0.22 lbs) 24 pages
  • Softcover


(Children's Book Review Magazine) A powerful way of acknowledging the connectedness of the whole universe, this salute to Mother Nature is reverent and simple, filled with phrases that acknowledge our privilege and bounty to be human in this great world... The richness of the earth is colorfully depicted... from the vast to the sublime. -- Children's Book Review

A simple, tender celebration of good fortune... Swamp has made the [Thanksgiving] address accessible to all ages... Printup deploys, apparently, all the colors in nature in rendering the serenely sleek, stylized illustrations. -- Kirkus Reviews

Lovely and inspiring ... beautifully illustrated. -- Light of Consciousness Magazine



Chief Jake Swamp (Tekaronianeken) was a founder of the Tree of Peace Society, an international organization promoting peace and conservation. Chief Swamp delivered the Thanksgiving Address throughout the world, as well as at the United Nations. He was born on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in upstate New York, and lived in Hogansburg, NY where he worked as a cultural adviser for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne's Child and Family Services. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message was his first picture book. He passed away in October 2010.

Erwin Printup is a Cayuga/Tuscarora painter who received a degree in fine arts from the Institute of American Indian Art, in Santa Fe, NM. Born in Niagara Falls, he now lives in Lewiston, NY. Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message is his first picture book.