Mohawk Prophecy of the Seventh
According to the prophecy of the Seventh Generation, seven
generations after contact with the Europeans the Onkwehonwe would
see the day when the elm trees would die. The prophecy said that
strange animals would be born deformed and without the proper
limbs. Huge stone monsters would tear open the face of the earth.
The rivers would burn. The air would burn the eyes of man. According
to the prophecy of the Seventh Generation the Onkwehonwe would
see the time when the birds would fall from the sky. The fish
would die in the water. And man would grow ashamed of the way
that he had treated his Mother and Provider, the Earth.
Finally, according to this prophecy, after seven generations
of living in close contact with the Europeans, the Onkwehonwe
would rise up and demand that their rights and stewardship over
the Earth be respected and restored.
According to the wisdom of this prophecy, men and women
would one day turn to the Onkwehonwe for both guidance and direction.
It is up to the present generation of youth of the Kanienkehaka
to provide leadership and example to all who have failed. The
children of the Kanienkehaka are the seventh generation.
Mohawk -- The Two Serpents
Before the time that Europeans arrived in the Americas,
two hunters went out over the Great Water to look for a new hunting
territory. Game was scarce in Kanienkeh, and they hoped to find
food in the east.
The two hunters set out in their canoe to search for richer
game. After they had gone out beyond the horizon's edge, they
noticed a glowing in the distance. They quickened their paddling
and came upon a very strange sight. There in the water were two
small serpents: one gold and one silver. These serpents were
glowing and turned the sky into wonderful colors.
The two hunters were amazed at the beauty of the serpents.
They did not want to leave them in the water for fear that they
would drown or else be eaten by a large fish. They knew if they
brought these serpents back to their own nation, the people would
admire the serpents and call the two hunters men of great skill
and daring. They paddled up close to the serpents and scooped
them up into their canoe.
Before the two hunters returned to their village, the people
could see them approaching from the great light that glowed from
the serpents. When the hunters reached their homes with their
prize, the people were impressed by the catch.
The people kept the serpents in an extra canoe. They were
fed daily, and soon began to eat twenty-four hours a day. They
grew too large for the canoe, and had to be moved to a stockade
especially built for that purpose. At first the serpents were
fed mosquitoes, flies and other insects. As they grew larger
they ate small animals like rabbits, raccoons and muskrats. Soon
they grew so large that they needed to be fed deer and finally
One day the serpents grew so large that they managed to
escape from their stockade pen. They attacked the children and
swallowed quite a few of them whole. The people were in terrible
circumstances. They could see the children squirming around in
the bellies of the huge gold and silver serpents. They attacked
these serpents with clubs, with arrows and with spears, but to
no avail. The serpents continued to ravage through the village,
killing more and more of the people and swallowing more children.
Finally they left the village and headed for the woods.
The people fought among themselves. They couldn't agree
as to what was the best way to stop the serpents. They fought
until it became too late, and the serpents disappeared. The gold
serpent went south; the silver one headed north. These serpents
left trails wherever they went. They cut through mountains and
blocked up the rivers.
They killed all of the animals wherever they went, not
always stopping to eat the meat. When the serpents approached
a mountain, instead of going around it or over the top, they
burrowed through the middle. The serpents left trails of filth
and destruction wherever they went. They poisoned the waters,
killed the forests, and made the earth an ugly and barren place.
One day a hunter from the land of the Kanienkehaka happened
to see the golden serpent. It had grown to be the size of a mountain,
and it had turned around and was heading for the Mohawk country
once again. Word came down from the north that the silver serpent
had grown, and it too was heading for the land of the Kanienkehaka.
One day, the two serpents could be seen from the original village
from where they had come 300 years earlier.
Again the people argued. They could not agree as to the
best way to kill the serpents off. The people remembered the
legends of the serpents, and how they had eaten the children
of their ancestors, and they fled to the mountains. Once in the
mountains the people were told by the Creator that the day would
come when a small boy would show them the way to kill the two
serpents. The boy would make a bow from willow. He would string
the bow with a string made from the hair of the clan mothers.
An arrow would be made of a straight sapling and tipped with
the white flint of the Kanienkehaka. With this arrow and this
bow, the people were told, the Kanienkehaka would protect themselves
from the two serpents of the United States and Canada.
The Seven Fires of the Anisinabe
Seven prophets came to Anishinabe 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 the 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 Seven Fires.
The first prophet said to the people, "In the time
of the First Fire, the Anishinabe nation will rise up and follow
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. The Sacred Megis will
lead the way to the chosen ground of the Anishinabe. You are
to look for a turtle-shaped island that is linked to the purification
of the earth. You will find such an island at the beginning and
at the end of your journey. There will be seven stopping places
along the way. You will know the chosen ground has been reached
when you come to a land where food grows on water. If you do
not move you will be destroyed."
The second prophet told the people, "You will know
the Second Fire because at this time the nation will be camped
by a large body of water. In this time the direction of the Sacred
Shell will be lost. The Midewiwin will diminish in strength,
a boy will be born to point the way back to the traditional ways.
He will show the direction to the stepping stones to the future
of the Anishinabe people."
The third prophet said to the people, "In the Third
Fire, the Anishinabe will find the path to their chosen ground,
a land in the west to which they must move their families. This
will be the land where food grows on water."
The Fourth Fire was originally given to the people by two
prophets. They come as one. They told of the coming of the Light
Skinned race. One of the prophets said, "You will know the
future of our people by the face the Light Skinned race wears.
If they come wearing the face of 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 four will form the mightiest nation of all.
You will know the face of the brotherhood if the light skinned
race comes carrying no weapons. If they come bearing only their
knowledge and a hand shake." The other prophet said, "Beware
if the Light Skinned race comes wearing the face of 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
one of death if the rivers run with poison and the fish become
unfit to eat. You shall know them by these many things."
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 warning 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."
The prophet of the Sixth Fire said, "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 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."
At the time of these predictions, many people scoffed at
the prophets. They then had medicines to keep away sickness.
They were then healthy and happy as a people. These were the
people who chose to stay behind in the great migration of the
Anishinabe. These people were the first to have contact with
the Light Skinned race. They would suffer the most. When the
Fifth Fire came to pass, a great struggle did indeed grip the
lives of all Native people. The Light Skinned race launched a
military attack on the Indian people through-out the country
aimed at taking away their land and their independence as a free
and sovereign people. It is now felt that the false promise that
came at the end of the Fifth Fire was the materials and riches
embodied in the way of life of the light skinned race. Those
who abandoned the ancient ways and accepted this new promise
were a big factor in causing the near destruction of the Native
people of this land. When the Sixth Fire came to be, the words
of the prophet rang true as the children were taken away from
the teachings of the Elders. The boarding school era of "civilizing"
Indian children had begun. The Indian language and religion were
taken from the children. The people started dying at an early
age... they had lost their will to live and their purpose in
In the confusing times of the Sixth Fire, it is said that
a group of visionaries came among the Anishinabe. They gathered
all the priests of the Midewiwin Lodge. They told the priests
that the Midewiwin Way was in danger of being destroyed. They
gathered all the sacred bundles. They gathered all the scrolls
that recorded the ceremonies. All these things were placed in
a hollowed out log from the ironwood tree. Men were lowered over
a cliff by long ropes. They dug a hole in the cliff and buried
the log where no one could find it. Thus the teachings of the
Elders were hidden out of sight but not out of memory. It was
said that when the time came that the Indian people could practice
their religion without fear that a little boy would dream where
the Ironwood log, full of the Sacred Bundles and Scrolls were
buried. He would lead his people to the place.
The Seventh Prophet that came to the people long ago was
said to be different from the other prophets. He was young and
had a strange light in his eyes. He said, "In the time of
the Seventh Fire, New People will emerge. They will retrace their
steps to find what was left by the trail. Their steps will take
them to the Elders who they will ask to guide them on their journey.
But many of the Elders will have fallen asleep. They will awaken
to this new time with nothing to offer. Some of the Elders will
be silent out of fear. Some of the Elders will be silent because
no one will ask anything of them.
The New People will have to be careful in how they approach
the Elders. The task of the New People will not be easy. If the
New People will remain strong in their Quest, the Water Drum
of the Midewiwin Lodge will again sound its voice. There will
be a Rebirth of the Anishinabe Nation and a rekindling of old
flames. The Sacred Fire will again be lit. 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 makes the
wrong choice of roads, the destruction which they brought with
them in coming to this country will come back at them and cause
much suffering and death to all the Earth's people.
Traditional Midewiwin people from other Nations have interpreted
the two roads that face the Light Skinned race as the road to
technology and the other to spiritualism. They feel that the
road to technology represents a continuation of Head-Long rush
to technological development. This is the road that has lead
to modern society, to a damaged and seared Earth. Could it be
that the road to technology represents a rush to destruction?
The road to Spirituality represents the slower path that traditional
Native People have traveled and are now seeking again. The Earth
is not scorched on this trail. The grass is still growing there.
The prophet of the Fourth Fire spoke of a time when "two
Nations will join to make a Mighty Nation." He was speaking
of the coming of the Light Skinned race and the face of brotherhood
that the Light Skinned Brother could be wearing. It is obvious
from the history of this country that this was not the face worn
by the Light Skinned race as a whole -- that the Mighty Nation
spoken of in the Fourth Fire has never been formed.
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