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i-pi ye-iswa (Catawba Fire Drumming Circle)


i-pi ye-iswa 



To be a human being is an honor, and we offer thanksgiving for all the gifts of life.  

Mother Earth, we thank you for giving us everything we need. 
Thank you, deep blue waters around mother earth, for you are the force that takes thirst away from all living things. 
We give thanks to green grasses that feel so good against her bare feet, for the cool beauty you bring to mother earth’s floor. 


Thank you, good foods from mother Earth, our life sustainers, for making us happy when we are hungry. 
Fruits and berries, we thank you for your color and sweetness. We are all thankful to good medicine herbs, for healing us when we are sick. 


Thank you, all the animals in the world, for keeping our precious forest clean. All the trees in the world, we are thankful for the shade and warmth you give us. Thank you, all the birds in the world, for singing your beautiful songs for all to enjoy. 
We give thanks to you gentle Four Winds, for bringing clean air for us to breathe from the four directions. 
Thank you, grandfather thunder beings, for bringing rains to help all living things grow. 
Elder brother sun, we send thanks for shining your light and warming mother earth. 
Thank you, Grandmother Moon, for growing full every month to light the darkness for children and sparkling waters. 
We give you thanks, twinkling stars, for making the night sky so beautiful and for sprinkling morning dew drops on the plants. 
Enlightened teachers of our past and present we thank you for showing us ways to live in peace and harmony with one another. 
And most of all, thank you, Great Spirit, for giving us all these wonderful gifts, so we will be happy and healthy every day and every night. 


This translation of the Mohawk version of the Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address was developed, published in 1993, and provided, courtesy of: Six Nations Indian Museum and the Tracking Project. All rights reserved. 


Thanksgiving Address: Greetings to the Natural World English version: John Stokes and Kanawahienton (David Benedict, Turtle Clan/Mohawk) Original inspiration: Tekaronianekon (Jake Swamp, Wolf Clan/Mohawk) 


Rev. Dr. Dwayne A. Walker, Pastor, Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church  


Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski, Executive Director, MeckMIN



 Ramona Moore Big Eagle (Tuscarora), M. Ed.,
CEO of Dare to Soar Enterprises, speaker, author, storyteller, cultural educator, consultant, and workshop facilitator


Monty Hawk Branham (Catawba), Spiritual Guide of the Catawba Nation


Dr. Brittany Danielle Hunt (Lumbee), owner of Indigenous Ed, LLC.


PRESENTATION: What Really Happened at “The First Thanksgiving?”
Ramona Moore Big Eagle (Tuscarora)



i-pi ye-iswa 

PRESENTATION: How Have and Do False Stories Impact Both Indigenous and Non-indigenous People?  
Dr. Brittany Danielle Hunt (Lumbee)



John Ederer, President, MeckMIN; Imam and Religious Director, Muslim Community Center of Charlotte


PRESENTATION:  How Might We Tell a Truer Story of the Past? How Might We LIVE a Better Story Now?

Aminah Ghaffar (Lumbee/Black), Community Advocate and Journalist



Monty Hawk Branham (Catawba)


Aminah Ghaffar (Lumbee/Black)



Rev. Sonja Lee, Executive Director, Lionel Lee Jr. Center for Wellness

Zach Surber, Senior Manager of Volunteer Services, Habitat for Humanity of the Charlotte Region

Rev. Amy Brooks Paradise, Vice President, MeckMIN; US Organizer for GreenFaith  


Dr. Crystal Cavalier-Keck (Occaneechi Band of Saponi Nation)
Principal at 7 Directions of Service and Founder of the MMIW NC Coalition.


The offering will be shared between MeckMIN and MMIW NC.

For cash and checks, offering plates and envelopes will also be available as you enter and leave the service. If you wish to donate cash, please use an envelope and record your name and contact information so we can credit you. 


If you prefer, you can mail a check to:

PO Box 11243

Charlotte, NC 28220 


Please make all checks to MeckMIN. We will split the offering with MMIW NC afterwards.

If you are going to mail a check and wish it to be split, please note that on the check and mail it within a week.

MMIW NC Coalition's mission is to build a strong foundation for healing, justice, and reconciliation for the governments (local and state), institutions and community in order to help society's attitudes and understanding of the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women. MMIW NC vision is to provide united tribal leadership in this work by lifting up the collective voices of grassroots advocates in tribal communities. The goal of MMIW NC is to bring our missing home and help the families of the murdered understand and cope through the process of grief. 



Monty Hawk Branham (Catawba)


Dr. Steve Lindsley, Senior Minister/Head of Staff, Trinity Presbyterian Church  



Rev. Polaski  



Dr. Hunt



i-pi ye-iswa


Please join us for continued fellowship in the Fellowship Hall


Thank you to the members of this year’s planning committee:
Zach Surber (chair),
Ramona Moore Big Eagle,
Monty Hawk Branham,
Stephanie Fielder,
Aminah Ghaffar,
Brittany Hunt,
Sonja Lee,
Mary Thomas.


Thank you to Little Rock A.M.E. Zion Church for their warm hospitality!


If you enjoyed this service and would be interested in more interfaith opportunities, please join our newsletter list 

You'll notice some construction on-site. Our hosts have launched a project to increase affordable housing in Uptown Charlotte. Varick on 7th will feature 105 units in one five-story building. Fifty apartments will be income-restricted for households earning 30%, 60%, and 80% AMI, and 55 units will be rented at market rates.


Learn more here about this exciting effort:

Imagine swiping your credit card at a vending machine - but instead of buying a candy bar for yourself, you’re buying a goat for a family in a developing country. Or a pillow and blanket for a newly arrived refugee. Or groceries for a family in need.


With the #LightTheWorld Mobile Giving Machine, that’s exactly what happens. Be a part of this one-of-a-kind giving experience and add more meaning to your holiday celebrations.


All operating costs are paid by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so that 100% of your donation goes to the charity you choose. 

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THANKS To This Year's LEAD Sponsor
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THANKS To This Year's INDIVIDUAL Sponsors

Richard & Beverly Hester

Nancy Carol Stahl

Mary Engel


THANKS To This Year's  Sponsors
History of the Annual Community-wide
Interfaith Thanksgiving Service 

In the year 1975, Rev. Dr. Sidney Freeman, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte and Rabbi Harold Krantzler of Temple Beth El came together to begin a tradition that embodied the beautiful tapestry of Charlotte's diverse religious community.  A Unitarian Universalist and a Reform Jew put aside their religious differences and envisioned a Community-Wide Interfaith Thanksgiving Service that would encourage our neighbors to practice gratitude in ways that would unite and transform our community. Today, we celebrate and honor Rev. Dr. Sidney Freeman and Rabbi Harold Krantzler for their ability to see beyond the lines that too often create division within the human family. We continue to build upon their legacy by welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds as we come together in gratitude to celebrate diversity and pray for unity. Each year this service is held in a different house of worship, and faith leaders across the community are invited to participate.  Attendance at this service has reached as many as 1,500. Canned goods are collected for Loaves & Fishes; and financial donations have been shared with Crisis Assistance Ministries, MMIW and MeckMIN. ​We hope you will celebrate this very special evening with us. 

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