The Seven Fires Prophecy of the Anishnabe or Ojibwa is spiritually encoded in the centuries old Wampum Belt. The belt is sewn with thousands of tiny, polished, cylindrical purple and white sea shell beads woven together with leather strips. This Wampum Belt has been handed down among the Algonquin for hundreds of years. It has seven Diamonds which represent the prophecies of the Seven Fires given to the people by a different Prophet.
The present guardian of this belt is Grandfather Commanda, Spiritual Elder of the Algonquin Nation. Grandfather Commanda and other Traditional Leaders believe that we have entered the time of the Seventh Fire, which is the time of decision between the two roads of materialism and of spirituality. If the light skinned race chooses the right road, then the Seventh Fire will light the Eighth and final Fire, an internal Fire of peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood. The Seven Fires Prophecy is ancient but its message is relevant for today’s world and for us, who must bring about a new balance to our lives and to the environment which we need for survival.
“Seven major Nee-gawn-na-kayg (prophets) appeared to the Anishinaabe people. They came at a time when the people were living a full and peaceful life on the northeastern coast of North America. These prophets left the people with seven predictions of what the future would bring. Each of these prophecies was called a fire and each fire referred to a particular era of time that would come in the future. Thus, the teachings of the seven prophets are now called the Neesh-wa-swi-ish-ko-day-kawn (seven fires) of the Ojibwe.
“The First Prophet told the people that in the time of the First Fire they would leave their homes by the sea and follow the sign of the megis, the Sacred Shell of the Midewiwin Lodge. The Midewiwin lodge will serve as a rallying point for the people and its traditional ways will be the source of much strength. They were to journey west into strange lands in search of an island in the shape of a turtle. This island will be linked to the purification of the earth. Such an island was to be found at the beginning and at the end of their journey. Along the way they would find a river connecting two large sweet water seas. This river would be narrow and deep as though a knife had cut through the land. They would stop seven times to create villages but they would know that their journey was complete when they found food growing on the water. If they did not leave, there would be much suffering and they would be destroyed. And they would be pursued and attacked by other nations along the way so they must be strong and ready to defend themselves.
“The Second Prophet told them they could recognize the Second Fire because while they were camped by a sweet water sea they would lose the direction of the Sacred Shell and be lost. The Midewiwin will diminish in strength but that the dreams of a little boy would point the way back to the true path, the stepping stones to their future.
“The Third Prophet said that in the Third Fire the Anishinabe would find the path to the lands prepared for them and they would continue their journey west to the place where food grows upon the water.”
Warning of the arrival of the Europeans
“The Fourth Prophet was two who came as one. One of the prophets said, “you will know the future of our people by what face the light skinned race wears. If they come wearing the face of nee-kon-nis-i-win (brotherhood), then there will come a time of wonderful change for generations to come. They will bring new knowledge and articles that can be joined with the knowledge of this country. In this way two nations will join to make a mighty nation. This new nation will be joined by two more so that the four will form the mightiest nation of all. You will know the face of brotherhood if the light skinned race comes carrying no weapons, if they come bearing only their knowledge and a handshake.”
“The Other Fourth Prophet said, “Beware if the light skinned race comes wearing the face of ni-boo-win (Death). You must be careful because the face of brotherhood and the face of death look very much alike. If they come carrying a weapon… beware if they come in suffering…they could fool you. Their hearts may be filled with greed for the riches of this land. If they are indeed your brothers, let them prove it. Do not accept them in total trust. You shall know that the face they wear is the one of death if the rivers run with poison and fish become unfit to eat. You shall know them by these many things.”
The Loss of Culture
“The Fifth Prophet said, “In the time of the fifth fire there will come a time of great struggle that will grip the lives of all Native people. At the waning of this fire there will come among the people one who holds a promise of great joy and salvation. If the people accept this promise of a new way and abandon the old teachings, then the struggle of the fifth fire will be with the people for many generations. The promise that comes will prove to be a false promise. All those who accept this promise will cause the near destruction of the people.”
Imposition of Christianity, residential schools, disease, theft of Land, the Indian Act… So many promises broken
“The Sixth Prophet told them that “In the time of the sixth fire it will be evident that the promise of the fifth fire came in a false way. Those deceived by this promise will take their children away from the teachings of the Chi-ah-ya-og (elders). Grandsons and granddaughters will turn against the elders. In this way the elders will lose their reason for living…they will lose their purpose in life. At this time a new sickness will come among the people. The balance of many people will be disturbed. The cup of life will almost be spilled. The cup of life will almost become the cup of grief.”
Where we are now – Fighting our way back
“The Seventh Prophet was younger than the others who had come and there was a glowing light from his eyes. He said that there would come a time when the waters had been so poisoned that the animals and plants that lived there would fall sick and begin to die. Much of the forests and prairies would be gone so the air would begin to lose the power of life. “The way of the mind brought to the red, black, and yellow nation by the white nation would bring danger to the whole earth. In this time there will arise Osh-ki-bi-ma-di-zeeg, a new people who will emerge from the clouds of illusion. They will retrace their steps to find the treasures that had been left by the trail. The stories that had been lost will be returned to them. They will remember the Original Instructions and find strength in the way of the circle. Their search will take them to the elders and the new people will ask for guidance. But many of the elders will have walked the Path of the Souls to the Star Web. Many elders will have forgotten their wisdom and they will not be able to help. Some of the elders will point in the wrong direction and others will remain silent because of their fear. Some of the elders will be silent because no one has asked them for their wisdom.
“The task of the new people will not be easy. If the New People will find trust in the way of all things, in the circle and remain strong in their quest, they will no longer need the selfish voice of the ego and they can begin to trust their inner voice. The Waterdrum of the Midewiwin Lodge will again sound its voice. There will be a rebirth of the Anishinaabe nation and a rekindling of old flames. The Sacred Fire will again be lit. Wisdom will be once again be found in dreams of the night and of the day.
“It is at this time that the light skinned race will be given a choice between two roads. If they choose the right road, then the seventh fire will light the eighth and final fire, an eternal fire of peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood. If the light skinned race make the wrong choice of roads, then the destruction they brought with them in coming to this country will come back to them and cause much suffering and death to all the Earths people.”
Source 2: ‘ The Voice of the Ojibway’ by Edward Benton Banai (book)