Gratitude can be anything from the counting of small blessings, to a full remembering and naming of all the forms of life that connect us. At Wild Earth, we encourage children to share gratitude from their hearts, for whatever feels authentic to them. Often they offer thanks for foods they love, for their warm beds, for friends, and for the family and caregivers who support them. I always wish we could capture those moments to share with families, so you’d know how appreciated you really are!
In the 1990s, an elder named Chief Jake Swamp of the Mohawk people at Akwesasne shared the Haudenosaunee peoples’ practice of gratitude with the wider world. You can see his children’s book, Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message. You may also wish to read this pamphlet called Thanksgiving Address, put together by John Stokes, David Kanawahienton Benedict, and Dan Rokwaho Thompson, including the original Mohawk language and translated into many other languages from around the world.
Wild Earth has been inspired by Chief Jake Swamp’s message, along with those of many other Indigenous and earth based peoples. In making gratitude part of our practice and culture, we seek to begin restoring balance among communities who care for the earth.gratitudefinalEnglish
Mai grew up in southwestern CT, where she spent her days clamoring across barnacled boulders lining Long Island Sound, and capturing crickets to feed to her leopard frogs. She studied acting at Emerson College and graduated from Hampshire College with a self-designed B.A. in ecosystem mimicry agriculture and community circus theater. Alisha Mai has run nature-immersion programming since 2008, with Vermont Wilderness School, the Institute for Natural Learning, Wolftree Programs, White Pine Programs, and most recently, Wild Earth. Mai enjoys working with girls and teens, and incorporating physical play into her programs. She draws upon her background in theater and circus to create zany and magical experiences in nature. Alisha Mai is certified in Wildlife Track and Sign (Level II) through CyberTracker, and is a Wilderness First Responder. She teaches vinyasa yoga and aerial silks, and studies at Circus Warehouse in Queens. More about Alisha Mai's work.