A long time ago, there was a family that chose to no longer live in their village because of community feuding and ill will. This young family took their two little boys and said, “Let us go back into the forest, and we’ll let the trees nurture our children; we’ll let the birds sing songs to remind them of their own songs. And we’ll let the animals become their friends.” And so they packed up their little boys and went deep into the forest.
The father offered his tobacco, and asked the tree nation to give him a home. He was granted that gift and so he cut down the trees. He made a home for his family and they moved in. The boys grew tall and strong, and yet year after year they continued to play fight and wrestle. Finally when they were in their teens, their mother said to them, “It’s time for you to give up your childish ways.” And they said, “Okay mom, we won’t wrestle anymore.” But as soon as they were out of earshot from their mother, they said, “Let’s go deeper into the forest and we’ll build a wrestling ring for ourselves, so we can go out there any time we feel like it.” And so they did. They cleared some land and went there secretly, without their mother’s knowledge.
And then one fateful day the time came when the boys were wrestling and the older brother knocked his younger brother to the ground, where he hit his head on a rock and died instantly. The oldest brother was beside himself. He said, “Please, please wake up…… Mom and dad are going to kill me. Please, please answer me.” The only answer was silence. He cried and begged his brother: “Please, please.” Finally after a couple of hours, a voice told him: “Bury your brother.” And so he dug into the ground and put his brother there. He covered him up and ran home.
Out of breath, he ran to his parents: “Mom, Dad I’ve lost my brother in the forest – I can’t find him.” And, so the parents went out with him and they looked. They couldn’t find him anywhere. The father said, “I will go into the community, and seek out our relatives to come and help us form a search party so we can find him.” So they searched for ten days, and ten nights, and then they went into mourning after they couldn’t find their son.
But every day the brother would go to his little brother’s grave, and he would say, “Please, please tell me that you’re okay! Please!” And he would cry as he walked away, because he had no answer. And years went by. He carried this sadness into manhood because only he knew where his brother’s body lay.
After many years and visits to his grave, the elder brother saw a tiny plant. He watched it grow into a strawberry vine on top of his brother’s grave. Each day he watched the leaves grow and the berries come into fruition.
White heart-shaped berries appeared first. Then, over days, they transformed into big red delicious berries, luscious and sweet. As he contemplated them, a voice from inside him said, “Take a berry and eat it.” So he picked a berry and put it in his mouth.
As he ate it, he became aware, for the first time in his life, that he could taste the sweetness of life again. No more did he blame himself for his brother’s death, and no more did he blame his brother for not answering him. He no more blamed his parents for their strict upbringing. And, most of all, he no more blamed the Creator for taking his brother’s life. He was free. After all of the long years, he was finally free.
Lis fraize-strawberry in Michif
Ode‘imin-heart berry in Ojibwe
Awʌ́hihte in Oneida
Improves Immune Functioning
Just one serving of strawberries offers about 150 percent of the body’s daily vitamin C requirement. This is essential for helping the body fight off infection and disease, from the common cold to the flu. Vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that damage healthy DNA.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Strawberries are an excellent source of potassium, which counters the effects of sodium in the body and reduces blood pressure. In addition to battling hypertension and related cardiovascular disease, a diet rich in potassium can help lower mortality risk in general.
Treats Symptoms of Arthritis and Gout
Free radicals contribute to the inflammation and deterioration of the muscles and tissues of the body. As a result, the joints don’t function as they should and harmful toxins build up, causing conditions like arthritis and gout. The antioxidants in strawberries help detoxify the body and reduce inflammation.
Offers Protection Against Cancer
Special components found in strawberries called flavonoids have the power to fight cancer and oxidative stress. These flavonoids, such as anthocyanins, quercetin, and kaempferol act as a defensive line against the development of cancer and tumors.
Promotes Healthy Eyesight
The presence of flavonoids, ellagic acid, and phenolic phytochemicals in strawberries reduces one’s risk of age-related vision problems like macular degeneration. These antioxidant compounds scavenge and trap free radicals, preventing them from damaging healthy ocular structures.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Strawberries are relatively low on the glycemic index, meaning they don’t cause extreme spikes in blood sugar after consumption. The dietary fiber provided by strawberries also helps regulate glucose, too. Making strawberries a part of a balanced diet can reduce one’s risk of diabetes or improve existing diabetes symptoms.
Lowers Risk of Stroke
The abundance of antioxidants in strawberries also offers protection against stroke by preventing the formation of blood clots. In addition, the potassium in strawberries acts as a vasodilator that improves the flow of blood to the brain, reducing one’s risk of stroke.
Helps Regulate Mood
These bright red berries also benefit your emotional and mental functioning. The seeds of strawberries contain the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, which has been proven to improve mood. Surprisingly, the mood-enhancing advantages of ALA is comparable to the mood-stabilizing effects of the commonly prescribed drug valproic acid.
Alleviates Allergy Symptoms
Since strawberries deliver immune-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits, they are a great weapon against allergies. They contain a special anti-allergy flavonoid called fisetin, which helps the body’s immune cells control inflammatory reactions to allergens.
Promotes Skin Vitality
The vitamin C in strawberries is used by the body to produce collagen, a protein essential to skin health. A healthy supply of collagen helps skin stay soft and springy while also repairing damaged skin cells. In addition, vitamin C serves as a free radical-scavenger, fighting the development of skin cancer and premature aging.
Reference: Within, W. (n.d.). 10 health and wellness benefits of strawberries. WELL WITHIN. https://www.wellwithinbeauty.com/blogs/volume-53/10-health-and-wellness-benefits-of-strawberries
The Haudenosaunee have 13 ceremonies throughout the year representing the 13 moons throughout the year. These ceremonies occur at various times of the year often following seasonal changes. The Strawberry Ceremony is held for 1 day in the middle of June. Most ceremonies are a way of expressing thanks to the people, the natural world, the spirit world and the creator. It is hoped that this will help to maintain the health and prosperity of the nations.
Each ceremony includes an opening and closing prayer followed by dances and songs. Often various stories special to the Haudenosaunee are shared to continue traditional teachings.
Crush and strain the berries with a sieve or with a cheese cloth bag. Smaller berries without as much natural juice may have to be heated some to produce juice (Caution berry juice stains!).
Combine the strained berry juice and the ice water then stir in the honey.