how to survive winter!

This week, the girls learned six ways to get through this winter!

Give thanks!

Work together!

Sing songs!

Play games!

Build shelters!

Make art!

We started as usual, with a game. This week, by request of the girls, we played a game called tree tag, where the instructor calls out an object such as a specific species of plant, or a color, or an item, and the girls must run to that object before they’re tagged by the taggers! If one is tagged, they join the tagging team. This was a great game for today because it kept everyone moving around and having fun!

We then joined in a circle for snack and thanksgiving. Ann Spider read us a lovely passage from a book called Pass it On! By Joanna Macy that is a Mohawk Thanksgiving Address that gives thanks to all the different pieces of our life. It is the prayer that we base our thanksgiving tradition upon, so it was a neat thing for the girls to hear. We thanked the sun, the trees, laughter, and so much more. Sending a blanket of thanks out to all the unnamed, we agreed that our hearts and minds were one. Scroll to the bottom of the post to read the Address!

Getting a little chilly in the shade, we all stood up for another game! This one is called Raccoon Steals Donut, and the goal of the game is for the raccoons (everyone) to steal the donut from the human (usually an instructor). Trevanna stood with the donut at one end of the field, the rest of us at the other. It’s a little like red-light-green-light, where she turns around, counts to five, then turns back and anyone seen moving is sent back to the beginning. As soon as one of the raccoons is close enough to steal the donut, she grabs it and either hides it or passes it off to someone else. The instructor has one try to guess who stole the donut, and if she’s right, she gets it back and the girl goes back to the beginning. If she’s wrong, the raccoons attempt to get the donut all the way back to the home base before the Instructor guesses who has it! It’s a fun game of strategy and teamwork which got us all talking and working together to get the donut home!! Once we successfully stole the donut, each of us feasted endlessly on the fruity-filled imaginary donut. Yum!

Then the girls ran around and collected leaves and other found plants to put into our flower presses! They picked the most beautiful and colorful leaves that we will do a fun craft with next time!

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When we finished, we scurried down to the Robin’s nest to learn a super important skill for any outdoor enthusiast! That skill is shelter building, and the girls were STOKED to say the least! Trevanna framed the activity by embodying a British school teacher who explained to us the process of building a shelter. Finding a good support tree comes first! It works best when it has a fork. Then the lodge pole, the large pole support that serves as the roof and lies in the fork of the support tree. Third, we gather sticks to lean against the lodge pole on either side, then cover those with leaves. She explained that it’s better to gather leaves further from your shelter first, so that once its getting dark, you can stick closer to the shelter to gather the leaves there.

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For thirty minutes, the girls worked tirelessly to gather all of the pieces that we need, and quickly through together a solid beginning to a cozy shelter that could keep us warm this winter!

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Remember, next week is our LAST week of Robin’s Circle for this Fall season! Make sure to arrive at 3 for Circle and 4:15 for our community potluck! Bring a dish or drink to share and come ready to play, work on the shelter or create beautiful images from our collected and pressed plants and leaves!

Stay warm!

Arielle Nuthatch, Ann Spider and Katie Hummingbird

Mohawk Thanksgiving Address

The Animals: We gather our minds together to send greetings and thanks to all the Animal Life in the world. They have many things to teach us. We see them near our homes and in the deep forests. We are glad they are still here and we hope that it will always be so

The Trees: We now turn our thoughts to the Trees. The earth has many families of Trees who have their own instructions and uses. Some provide us with shelter and shade, others with fruit, beauty and other useful things. Many people of the world use a tree as a symbol of peace and strength. With one mind, we greet and thank the Tree Life.

The Birds: We put our minds together as one and thank all the Birds who move and fly about over our heads. The Creator gave them beautiful songs. Each day they remind us to enjoy and appreciate life. The Eagle flys highest in the sky and was chosen to be their leader. To all the Birds from the smallest to the largest – we send our joyful greetings and thanks.

The Four Winds: 
We are all thankful to the powers we know as the Four Winds. We hear their voices in the moving air as they refresh us and purify the air we breathe. They help to bring the change of seasons. From the four directions they come, bringing us messages and giving us strength. With one mind, we send our greetings and thanks to the Four Winds.

The Thunderers: Now we turn to the west where our Grandfathers, the Thunder Beings, live. With lightning and thundering voices, they bring with them the water that renews life. We bring our minds together as one to send greetings and thanks to our Grandfathers, the Thunderers.

The Sun: We now send greetings and thanks to our eldest Brother, the Sun. Each day without fail he travels to the sky from east to west, bringing the light of the day. He is the source of all the fires of life. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Brother, the Sun.

Grandmother Moon:
 We put our minds together and give thanks to our oldest Grandmother, the Moon, who lights the night time sky. She is the leader of all females across the world, and she governs the movement of the ocean tides. By her changing face we measure time, and is the Moon who watches over the arrival of children here on Earth. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to our Grandmother, the Moon.

The Stars: We give thanks to the Stars who are spread across the sky like jewelry. We see them in the night, helping the Moon to light he darkness and bringing dew to the gardens and growing things. When we travel at night, they guide us home. With our minds gathered together as one, we send greetings and thanks to all the stars.

The Enlightened Teachers: We gather our minds to greet and thank the Enlightened Teachers who have come to help throughout the ages. When we forget how to live in harmony, they remind us of the way we were instructed to live as people. With one mind, we send greetings and thanks to these caring Teachers.

The Creator: 
Now we turn our thoughts to the Creator, or Great Spirit, and send greetings and thanks for all the gifts of Creation. Everything we need to live a good life is here on this Mother Earth. For all the love that is still around us, we gather our minds together as one and send our choicest words of greetings and thanks to the Creator.

Closing Words

We have now arrived at the place were we end our words. Of all the things we have named, it was not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way.

Source: http://www.cradleboard.org/curriculum/powwow/supplements/mo_th_ad.html

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