Indigenous words to learn

Dakota Brant and Rick Hill explaining wampum

An outcome of the Reclaiming project was to provide participants with Indigenous words.  We start with the words before all else.

Ohenton kariwatehkwen (Words before all else)

To Give Thanks for what the Creation provides, the Haudenosaunee offer these words of thanksgiving at the opening and closing of community events, ceremonies and council meeting. It reflects the Haudenosaunee concept of the universe based upon the Creation Story.

Teyethinonhweratons ne onkweshon’a (We give thanks to the people)

Teyethinonhweratons ne yethinihstenha tsi yohwentsyake (We give thanks to our mother the earth)

teyethinonhweratons ne kahnekaronnyon (We give thanks to the water)

teyethinonhweratons ne kentsyonshon’a (We give thanks to the fish life)

teyethinonhweratons ne ohenteshon’a (We give thanks to the grasses)

teyethinonhweratons ne ononhkwashon’a (We give thanks to the medicine)

teyethinonhweratons ne otsinonwashon’a (We give thanks to the insect life)

teyethinonhweratons ne kahikshon’a (We give thanks to the fruits)

teyethinonhweratons ne tyonnhehkwen (We give thanks to our sustenance/foods)

teyethinonhweratons ne kontiriyo (We give thanks to the animals)

teyethinonhweratons ne karontashon’a tahnon okwireshon’a (We give thanks to the trees and bushes)

teyethinonhweraton ne otsi’ten’okon’a (We give thanks to the birds)

teyethinonhweratons ne kayeri nikawerake (We give thanks to the four winds)

teyethinonhweratons ne yethisothokon ratiwerahs (We give thanks to our grandfather thunders)

tethsitewanonhweratons ne etsitewatsi’a tyohkenekha karahkwa (We give him thanks, our eldest brother the day sun)

teyethinonhweratons ne yethiso’tha ahsonthennekha karahkwa (We give thanks to our grandmother the night sun)

teyethinonhweratons ne yotsistokwaronnyon tsi tkaronhyake (We give thanks to the stars in the sky)

tethsitewanonhweratons ne shonkwaya’tison (We give him thanks our Creator)

tho kati nenyotonhake ne onkwa'nikonra (That is the way it will be in our minds)

(Provided by Joseph Brown, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Tyendinaga, Ontario)


Niagara Falls Josgö’sëhdöh


Needle gë:wë´

Thread gahsi:yä´


Needle uhsęwáreh

Thread uhsìreh

Beadwork uʔtiksteh


Niagara Falls Gahnáwehta

Beads ó:ye:

Needle enikokwa gahsowahda

Thread enikohkwa ohsi:ya

Ote-ko-a = Wampum (in the Seneca language); Onekorha in the Mohawk language

Kaswentha, or Guswenta = Wampum belt

Onkwehon:we = Indigenous People, a Haudenosaunee term often translated as “Original, Real People”

Haudenosaunee = People of the Longhouse, also known as the Six Nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora Nations)



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