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.
Deganawidah: The Two Serpents
[From Native American Prophecies by Scott Peterson]
When Deganawidah was leaving the Indians in the Bay of Quinte in Ontario, he told the Indian people that they would face a time of great suffering. They would distrust their leaders and the principles of peace of the League, and a great white serpent was to come upon the Iroquois, and that for a time it would intermingle with the Indian serpent as a friend. This serpent would in time become so powerful that it would attempt to destroy the Indian, and the serpent is described as choking the life’s blood out of the Indian people. Deganawidah told the Indians that they would be in such a terrible state at this point that all hope would seem to be lost, and he told them that when things looked their darkest a red serpent would come from the north and approach the white serpent, which would be terrified, and upon seeing the red serpent he would release the Indian, who would fall to the ground almost like a helpless child, and the white serpent would turn all its attention to the red serpent. The bewilderment would cause the white serpent to accept the red one momentarily. The white serpent would be stunned and take part of the red serpent and accept him. Then there is a heated argument and a fight. And then the Indian revives and crawls toward the land of the hilly country, and then he would assemble his people together, and they would renew their faith and the principles of peace that Deganawidah had established. There would at the same time exist among the Indians a great love and forgiveness for his brother, and in this gathering would come streams from all over — not only the Iroquois but from all over — and they would gather in this hilly country, and they would renew their friendship. And Deganawidah said they would remain neutral in this fight between the white and red serpents.
At the time they were watching the two serpents licked in this battle, a great message would come to them, which would make them ever so humble, and when they become that humble, they will be waiting for a young leader, an Indian boy, possibly in his teens, who would be a choice seer. Nobody knows who he is or where he comes from, but he will be given great power, and would be heard by thousands, and he would give them the guidance and the hope to refrain from going back to their land and he would be the accepted leader. And Deganawidah said that they will gather in the land of the hilly country, beneath the branches of an elm tree, and they should burn tobacco and call upon Deganawidah by name when facing the darkest hours, and he will return. Deganawidah said that as the choice seer speaks to the Indians that number as the blades of grass, and he would be heard by all at the same time, and as the Indians are gathered watching the fight, they notice from the south a black serpent coming from the sea, and he is described as dripping with salt water, and as he stands there, he rests for a spell to get his breath, all the time watching to the north to the land where the white and red serpents are fighting.
Deganawidah said that the battle between the white and the red serpents opened very slowly but would then become so violent that the mountains would crack and the rivers would boil and the fish would turn up on their bellies. He said that there would be no leaves on the trees in that area. There would be no grass, and that strange bugs and beetles would crawl from the ground and attack both serpents, and he said that a great heat would cause the stench of death to sicken both serpents. And then, as the boy seer is watching this fight, the red serpent reaches around the back of the white serpent and pulls from him a hair which is carried toward the south by a great wind into the waiting hands of the black serpent, and as the black serpent studies this hair, it suddenly turns into a woman, a white woman who tells him things that he knows to be true but he wants to hear them again. When this white woman finishes telling these things, he takes her and gently places her on a rock with great love and respect, and then he becomes infuriated at what he has heard, so he makes a beeline for the north, and he enters the battle between the red and white serpents with such speed and anger that he defeats the two serpents, who have already been battle weary.
When he finishes, he stand on the chest of the white serpent, and he boasts and puts his chest out like he’s the conqueror, and he looks for another serpent to conquer. He looks to the land of the hilly country and then sees the Indian standing with his arms folded and looking ever so noble that he knows that this Indian is not the one to fight. The next direction that he will face will be eastward and at that time he will be momentarily blinded by a light that is many times brighter than the sun. The light will be coming from the east to the west over the water, and when the black serpent regains his sight, he becomes terrified and makes a beeline for the sea. He dips into the sea and swims away in a southerly direction, and shall never again be seen by the Indians. The white serpent revives, and he too sees the light, and he makes a feeble attempt to gather himself and go toward that light.
A portion of the white serpent refuses to remain but instead makes its way toward the land of the hilly country, and there he will join the Indian People with a great love like that of a lost brother. The rest of the white serpent would go to the sea and dip into the sea and would be lost out of sight for a spell. Then suddenly the white serpent would appear again on the top of the water and he would be slowly swimming toward the light. Deganawidah said that the white serpent would never again be troublesome to the Indian People. The red serpent would revive and he would shiver with great fear when he sees that light. He would crawl to the north and leave a bloody, shaky trail northward, and he would never be seen again by the Indians. Deganawidah said as this light approaches that he would be that light, and he would return to his Indian People, and when he returns, the Indian People would be a greater nation than they had ever been before.
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.