Mohawk Prophecy of the Seventh Generation

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 moose.

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 living.

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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