Thanksgiving Oration

Richard C. Adams


There’s a Spirit of whose greatness

Far excels all other spirits,

Who neglects not e’en the smallest

Or the greatest of events;

Who ordained the starry highway,

The sun, the moon, the earth, the sea,

And for His glory we’re created,

And for this we’re very thankful.


There are Manitous who serve Him,

Each have duties of their own,

In the spheres they are controlling,

As the Great Spirit wills they should.

But not the least of all their duties

Is to hear our humble cry,

And convey it without waiting

To the Spirit who is greatest,

And for this we’re very thankful.


We’ve had chiefs and teachers with us

Who were faithful, brave, and true,

And the lessons they have taught us

Our recorders oft’ repeat.

We have those who are inspired

And who tell us what they see,

And their teachings often cheer us,

And for this we’re very thankful.


We have warriors brave and skillful,

We have mothers good and true,

And their children are attentive

And with reverence seek to learn,

By each example set before them,

That they, too, may be respected,

And for this we’re very thankful.


We have wives who are devoted

And their husbands do adore them;

We have children born unto us,

Who with pride we look upon,

And who yet will make their nation

What it once has been before,

And for this we’re very thankful.


We have guardian spirits with us

Who, without our knowing guide us

Past much danger in our way,

And who often have enticed us

To the pleasures that we find;

Of the voice that speaks within us

We may learn which is our friend,

And for this we’re very thankful.


We have friends that have departed

To the life to us unknown;

While we grieve much and we miss them,

Yet we know they are progressing,

Nearer to the final station,

Where their knowledge will be perfect

And their happiness completed,

And for this we’re very thankful.


We belong unto a nation

Which now shattered, wrecked, and severed,

Still belongs to the Great Spirit,

Who announces us His own,

And has pointed out a highway

We may travel to his realm,

And for this we’re very thankful.


Exalting Oration


Forget not this where’er you travel,

Forget not this whate’er your danger,

Your heart may well be strong within you,

For you are of the Lenape;

For better still of all the greetings

Brought us by the good Manitou,

Said the spirit who is greatest,

“These are my people, the Lenape.”


Tho’ you meet with daily trials

And your burdens seem most heavy,

Great temptations may ensnare you,

You may fail to do your duty.

But do children walk from child-birth?

Do not strong men even stumble?

Let no failure leave you doubting,

For you are of the Lenape.


If you see a tribesman falter,

Even tho’ he’s much discouraged

And he seems to be unworthy

Of the help of even humans,

Turn not from him, don’t forsake him,

For the Spirit who is greatest

Looks upon us with compassion,

And has said this in his greeting,

“These are my people, the Lenape.”


Go and cheer your fallen comrade,

Tell him non can here be perfect;

If each life reflected to us,

All their errors and omissions,

His may yet be far the brighter,

For he has hidden from us nothing,

And he yet may reach the station

Where we are to be made perfect,

In advance of those who shun him,

If he only will remember

That he’s of the Lenni Lenape.


When we think much of the future,

Of the mysteries that surround us,

Of the earth on which we’re living,

Of ourselves as we are born,

Of ourselves as we are dying,

Then we must be truly happy

That the spirit who ordained this,

Has remembered us with greetings,

“These are my people, the Lenape.”


Let your spirit then be cheerful

And your efforts do not slacken,

To perform your daily duty;

Hearken to your guardian spirit,

As impressions it will give you,

You will know when it is speaking,

For vibrations come unto you,

From the greatest of the spirits,

Who has sent to us this greeting,

“These are my people, the Lenape.”