Since I’ve started learning the languages of our gracious hosts here in downtown Tkaronto (Iroquois), through joining the mighty, expanding Medicine Walk being led by Traditional Indigenous Healers, Medicine People, Elders and other helpers here in Toronto, the Ancestors have begun to show me the replicating superpower of Chi Miigwetch.
Chi Miigwetch means (generally) “Great Thanks” in the language of the Ojibwe-Chippewa people, in whose home we are currently camping. Our other hosts here in the area known as the dish with one spoon are the people of the Six Nations Confederacy, and Mohawk is one of their languages. To our Mohawk speaking brothers and sisters, we say Niawen’kówa for your hospitality.
Here in Tkaronto, Chi Miigwetch is the first word that many of us learn when we join the Anishnawbe Health Traditional Indigenous healing community. And, those of us who are taking our Medicine Walks very seriously have learned that Chi Miigwetch opens peoples’ hearts in a way that other medicines cannot.
When we learn to “give thanks in all things” as the great teacher Paul of Tarsus taught, we carry with us a natural antidote to most of the problems we encounter: anger, boredom, greed, hunger, despair, self-pity, rudeness, disconnection . . .
Chi Miigwetch is the root of healing and reconciliation, and once planted firmly in our hearts, it grows and expands outside of us to reach and teach everyone we encounter.
Our great prophet, Tecumseh taught us to give thanks from the minute we wake up in the morning, and for everything we have and experience throughout our days. Tecumseh was a great leader of Turtle Island’s Original People, a wise warrior who gave his life fighting against the colonizing governments and corporations who destroyed our communities and slaughtered our loved ones. Through Grandfather Tecumseh’s activism and leadership balanced with his wisdom teachings, we most clearly see the superpower of Chi Miigwetch. All honor and respect to our great Ancestor Tecumseh.
Meister Eckhart, the 14thC Christian mystic is quite possibly most well known for his teaching, “If the only prayer you ever say is ‘thank you’ it would suffice.” This beautiful teaching has given untold numbers of people down through the centuries the strength and guidance to hold on for another day. This teaching is sublime and breathtaking in its healing power when followed as instructed.
There have been many times over the past few years (the time of my own shattering, dark night of the soul, and healing n rec process) that I have been so overwhelmed by fear and pain that I was unable to pray, or so depressed that I didn’t know how I was going to face another day. During these times, the angels and my spirit guides would remind me to say thank you for even the tiniest thing – my breath, my fingers, toes that haven’t been lost to a terrible disease, clean water from my kitchen faucet, enough food to feed my boys for the day, beautiful children who are safe and accounted for – and even the cockroaches who hang out in the kitchen because they remind me that we have a kitchen and enough food to need their help.
The process of blessing counting is what lifts us up and helps us carry on because it forces us to focus on and state the good gifts that the Great Spirit has provided for us on our journeys here, as he promised he would do.
We, as a human collective have come to a time of great transition as prophesied by the great Chiefs and visionaries of the Original People. We understand this time as the time of the 7th Fire – the time when the people from all directions, reflecting all four races of the great Medicine Wheel are coming together to begin building the New Earth, based on a foundation of healing, reconciliation, forgiveness and love.
And, again – at the heart of this sacred process sits Chi Miigwetch.
My Cherokee family says, “Wado.”
How do you give Thanks?
All honor and respect.
Chi Miigwetch for being here.
swc kandace ma
Toronto ON Canada Turtle Island Gaia
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