Niizhaaswi Ishkodekan  The Seven Fires of the Ojibwe
The accounts of our life that have been handed down to us by our Ojibwe elders tell us that many years ago, seven major Niigaanagaag (prophets) came to the Anishinaabe. They came at a peaceful time when the people were living a full and peaceful life on the northeastern coast of North America. These prophets left the people with the 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 Niizhaaswi Ishkodekan (Seven Fires) of the Ojibwe.


The 1st prophet
said to the people, "In the time of the First Fire, the Anishinaabe 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 Anishinaabe. 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 of your journey. There will be seven stopping places along the way. You will know that the chosen ground has been reached when you come to a land where food grows on water. If you do no move, you will be destroyed."



The 2nd 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 stepping stones to the future of the Anishinaabe people."




The 3rd prophet said to the people, "In the Third Fire, the Anishinaabe 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 4th prophet was originally given to the people by 2 prophets. They came as 1. They told of the coming of the Light-Skinned Race. 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 Niikaanisiwin (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 one 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 prophet said, "Beware if the Light-Skinned Race comes wearing the face of Niboowin (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 5th 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 along 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 6th prophet  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 Gichi-Aya'aag (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 come the cup of grief."


The 7th prophet that come 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 fo the Seventh Fire a Oshki-Bimaadiziig (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 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 remain strong in their quest, 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. 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, then destruction which they brought with them in coming to this country will come back to them and cause much suffering and death to all the Earth's people."


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