|A tribal member holding an eagle feather to fan a bundle of sage during a sunrise ceremony on top of Cadillac Mountain in Maine's Acadia National Park. Credit: D.J. Monette/USFWS.|
During this season of holiday giving, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to take time and reflect on the gifts we receive throughout the year from Mother Nature. Gifts of Nature are treasures to behold and wonders to be thankful for.
Since time immemorial, Native Americans have used the many precious natural resource gifts offered by Mother Nature (Mother Earth) for their survival and existence. As the first stewards of our country’s natural resources, Native Americans learned and developed the management skill of only taking and using what was necessary to survive.
Giving thanks was a common practice that typically followed the taking of these precious gifts. In fact, the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people have long used an oral traditional message or address of giving thanks that has passed down from generation to generation, acknowledging and appreciating the natural world.
Additionally, certain gifts of nature, such as bald (once endangered) and golden eagles, today play a significant cultural and religious role in many Native American lives. The Service recognizes this through its National Eagle Repository distribution process to Native Americans.
So as you prepare for your own holiday traditions this year, consider how they connect to Mother Nature and her great outdoors.