When it comes to Thanksgiving, it is sometimes easy to forget the narrative of our Indigenous Peoples. However, the voices that prevail continue to give prayers of thanksgiving. One of these voices is Soan Mahngotaysee (sooahn= swan) (mon-go-tahi-see), Chief Strongheart of the Cherokee Nation. In his autobiography, he recounts his thanksgiving prayers from years past.

Another documentation rich in culture is the Seneca Thanksgiving Rituals, compiled by American linguist Wallace L. Chafe and featured in the Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 183. It contains Seneca thanksgiving text, performances, songs, and translations. There are also multiple sources included on where to find recorded versions of the thanksgiving rituals.

A “Thanktgvinh Proclamation” was made in 1886 by Dennis Wolf Bushyhead, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1879-1887. He declares November 25th to be a day of thanksgiving and praise and “recommend[s] to all Cherokees to “keep” the said Anniversary soberly, gladly, and lovingly…”.

We at Special Collections wish everyone a safe holiday. A reminder that we are closed the rest of the week, but will reopen Monday, November 29th. If you would like more information about our collections, we are located on the fifth floor of McFarlin Library. We are open 8-4:30pm and are open to questions at

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