The Dance has always been a central part of the culture of Native Americans as both social interaction and a solemn duty. Many dances play vital roles in religious rituals and other ceremonies while others are performed to guarantee the success of hunts, harvests, giving thanks, and other celebrations.
Generally dances are held in a large structure or in an open field around a fire. Movements of the participants illustrate the purpose of the dance... expressing prayer, victory, thanksgiving, mythology and more. Sometimes a leader is chosen, otherwise a specific individual, such as a tribal chief or medicine man leads the dance.
Many tribes dance only to the sound of a drum and their own voices while others incorporate bells and rattles. Some dances include solos and others include songs with a leader and choir. Participants might include the entire tribe or are specific to men, women, or families. In addition to public dances, there are also private and semi-public dances for healing, prayer, initiation, storytelling, and courtship.
The prophecy is further supported by similar legends from numerous other First Nation tribes as outlined by
Biwabiko Paddaquahas (Iron Thunderhorse)
The Seventh Fire:
Originally, the prophecy and the Ojibwa migration story were closely linked. However, the last half the prophecy appears to apply to all peoples in contact with the Anishinaabeg. Consequently, with the growth of the Pan-Indian Movement in the 1960s and the 1970s, concepts of the Seven Fires Prophecy merged with other similar prophetical teaching found among Indigenous peoples of North America, forming a unified environmental, political, and socio-economic voice towards Canada and the United States. The Seven fires prophecy was originally taught among the practitioners of Midewiwin.
(The common religion of the Ojibway and their confederation with the Ottawa and Potawatomi was “Medawewin” [pronounced Me-Day-Wee-Win]. The Medawe even had their own written language, as evidenced by preserved birch bark scrolls and rock formations. The Medawewin religion consisted of four degrees or levels wherein initiates learned to use their spiritual abilities for spiritual healing. Herbalists and surgeons also belonged to the Medawewin. This may have been the origin of the term “medicine man”, since “Medawewin” sounds very similar to the English words “medicine man”.)
William Commanda, an Algonquin elder and former chief of the Kitigàn-zìbì Anishinàbeg First Nation in Quebec, Canada, was the wampum belt-keeper for the seven fires prophecy. He died on August 3, 2011.
Before any white settlers arrived in the Fox Valley in the early 1830s, the Potawatomi lived along the Fox River. Following their expulsion from their eastern lands, the Fox Valley served as a geographic center for these peoples. The Potawatomi called the Chicago region their home from the 17th century until they were forcibly removed in the 1830s.
The Potawatomi, a name which means "people of the place of fire," lived in the Fox Valley area during the summers and wintered in southern Illinois. These Native Americans left an indelible mark on the land. Evidence of their presence can still be appreciated today: many of the main roads that traverse Western DuPage and the Fox Valley are old Potawatomi trails.
In honor of the rich history of the Potawatomi people, a statue was erected in Pottawatomie Park in 1915. Vandalism during the 1960s damaged the statue beyond repair and it had to be removed. The pieces that remain have been preserved and are on display at the St. Charles History Museum.
In the 1980s, a new statue dedicated to the memory of the Potawatomi was sculpted and erected. The fifteen-foot bronze statue stands looking westward over the Fox River. Guy Bellaver, the sculptor, described the finished product as a combination of many different Native Americans.
The city dedicated the statue on May 22, 1988. Members of four bands of Potawatomi also came to the dedication. It was at this time that the statue received its name. Potawatomis believe that to name the statue was to give it a protective spirit. They named the statue Ēkwabet, meaning "watching over."
In 1997 and 1998 I spent about a year living along the Fox River in Saint Charles, Illinois. I often walked along the trails on both sides of the river during all the seasons of the year sensing the presence of my ancestors strolling along with me. I frequently used the experiences had in the nature reserves as a muse for my personal journal and I've posted a few of the "Fox River Stories" here on the website... to read them hit the button to the right.
To more fully explore The Legend of The Seventh Fire...
The three men talked and realized that their sons had died fighting in the same wars. They concluded that the Great Spirit had brought them together to this tranquil place, where they could hear the spirits speak. They agreed that there had been too much fighting between their tribes, and too much grief. They resolved to go back to their tribes and get them to live in peace. They made three pipes, and each took a pipe of tobacco home to his people as a symbol of peace.
Ten days later, the three old men led their people to the great tree. Each man brought wood from which they built a fire together, and they cooked food from each tribe. They filled a pipe and offered its smoke to the Great Spirit above, to the spirits of the four directions, and then downward to the spirit that keeps the earth from sinking into the water. The tribes each smoked from the pipe of peace and ate of the common meal, and their chiefs agreed that they should live in peace. The three old men agreed to a set of rules to preserve the peace and to guide their peoples. This is how the Potawatomi, the Ojibwe, and Ottawa came to live in peace and to intermarry, as one people.
Dorothy Moulding Brown, 1947, Indian Fireside Tales: Madison, Wisconsin Folklore Society, 7 p. Harry H. Anderson, ed., 1992,
Myths and Legends of Wisconsin Indians, Milwaukee History, vol. 15, no. 1, p. 2-36. (as available at http://126.96.36.199/wirp/ICW-
How the Three Nations Came to Dwell Together in Peace
A Potawatomi Creation Story
Earthmaker made the world with trees and fields, with rivers, lakes, and springs, and with hills and valleys. It was beautiful. However, there weren't any humans, and so one day he decided to make some.He scooped out a hole in a stream bank and lined the hole with stones to make a hearth, and he built a fire there. Then he took some clay and made a small figure that he put in the hearth. While it baked, he took some twigs and made tongs. When he pulled the figure out of the fire and had let it cool, he moved its limbs and breathed life into it, and it walked away. Earthmaker nonetheless realized that it was only half-baked. That figure became the white people.
Earthmaker decided to try again, and so he made another figure and put it on the hearth. This time he took a nap under a tree while the figure baked, and he slept longer than he intended. When he pulled the second figure out of the fire and had let it cool, he moved its limbs and breathed life into it, and it walked away. Earthmaker realized that this figure was overbaked, and it became the black people.
Earthmaker decided to try one more time. He cleaned the ashes out of the hearth and built a new fire. Then he scooped up some clay and cleaned it of any twigs or leaves, so that it was pure. He made a little figure and put it on the hearth, and this time he sat by the hearth and watched carefully as the figure baked. When this figure was done, he pulled it out of the fire and let it cool. Then he moved its limbs and breathed life into it, and it walked away. This figure was baked just right, and it became the red people.
Bozho Nikan (Hello Friend: Potawatomi)
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The Medicine Wheel
What They Are and How to Build One!
The Miracle Within
Based on A Course in Miracles:
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"A Course in Miracles began with the sudden decision of two people to join in a common goal. Their names were Helen Schucman and William Thetford, Professors of Medical Psychology at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. It does not matter who they were, except that the story shows that with God all things are possible. They were anything but spiritual. Their relationship with each other was difficult and often strained, and they were concerned with personal and professional acceptance and status. In general, they had considerable investment in the values of the world. Their lives were hardly in accord with anything that the Course advocates. Helen, the one who received the material, describes herself: 'Psychologist, educator, conservative in theory and atheistic in belief. I was working in a prestigious and highly academic setting. And then something happened that triggered a chain of events I could never have predicted. The head of my department unexpectedly announced that he was tired of the angry and aggressive feelings our attitudes reflected, and concluded that there must be another way. As if on cue, I agreed to help him find it. Apparently this Course is the other way.'"
(From The Introduction to A Course in Miracles)
"A Course in Miracles is a complete self-study spiritual thought system. As a three-volume curriculum consisting of a Text, Workbook for Students, and Manual for Teachers, it teaches that the way to universal love and peace—or remembering God—is by undoing guilt through forgiving others. The Course thus focuses on the healing of relationships and making them holy. A Course in Miracles also emphasizes that it is but one version of the universal curriculum, of which there are "many thousands." Consequently, even though the language of the Course is that of traditional Christianity, it expresses a non-sectarian, non-denominational spirituality. A Course in Miracles therefore is a universal spiritual teaching, not a religion."
(From The Foundation for Inner Peace: www.acim.org)
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This situation changed dramatically in the 1640s and 1650s when the League of the Iroquois in upstate New York began to raid Indian tribes throughout the Great Lakes region to monopolize the regional fur trade. Like other tribes in the southern peninsula of Michigan, the Potawatomi were forced westward by the Iroquois onslaught. By 1665, the tribe relocated on the Door County Peninsula in Wisconsin. When the Iroquois threat receded after 1700, the Potawatomi moved south along the western shore of Lake Michigan. They also moved back into Michigan, which they had occupied before the Iroquois wars. By 1800, their tribal estate included northern Illinois, southeastern Wisconsin, northern Indiana, southern Michigan, and northwestern Ohio.
When Jean Nicolet arrived at Green Bay in 1634, he met a few Potawatomi there. At this time, the Potawatomi lived in Michigan, and any Potawatomi at Green Bay were most probably visiting.
Oral traditions of the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Ottawa assert that at one time all three tribes were one people who lived at the Straits of Mackinac. From there, they split off into three separate groups, and the Potawatomi were "Keepers of the Sacred Fire." As such, they were the leading tribe of the alliance the three Indian nations formed after separating from one another. Linguistic, archaeological, and historical evidence suggests that the Potawatomi, Ojibwe, and Ottawa did indeed descend from a common ethnic origin. The three languages are almost identical. In their own language, the word Potawatomi means "Keepers of the Sacred Fire," but they call themselves"Neshnabek" which means "the True People."
Potawatomi: The People of the Place of the Fire
There is the Old Woman in me traveling south
With the Mouse which taught me my limitations.
The Mouse lay close to the ground and said,
There is a Time for Taking Comfort in Small Things
So that you do not feel
Forgotten in the night.
There is a Time for enjoying the Worm.
There is the Old Man in me traveling north
With the Buffalo which taught me wisdom.
The Buffalo disappeared and said,
There is a Time for Believing Nothing
So that you do not speak
What you have already heard.
There is a Time for Keeping Quiet.
The red people became many tribes, and they spread across the land. Among these tribes were the Ojibwe, the Ottawa, and the Potawatomi. These three tribes were enemies and fought many battles. One Potawatomi man had ten sons, all of whom were killed in battle. Unbeknownst to him, there was an Ojibwe man who had lost ten sons in these battles, and there was an Ottawa man who had likewise lost ten sons. Each man mourned so much that they wandered away from their tribes, each looking for a place to die in the woods.
The Ojibwe man walked and walked, and eventually he came to a huge tree. The tree had four long roots stretching to the north, east, south, and west, and four huge branches that extended in the same directions. The tree also had one huge root that ran straight toward the center of the earth, and its center limb ran straight up into the sky. The tree was so beautiful, and the view from under it was so tranquil, that the man forgot his sorrow, and eventually he was happy.
As the Ojibwe man sat under the tree, he saw another man approaching in the distance. This newcomer was crying as he walked toward the tree, but eventually he saw the tree's beauty and stopped under it. The Ojibwe man said, "I lost ten sons in war and was so heartbroken that I wandered away to die, until I came to this tree. Why have you come here?"
The newcomer, an Ottawa, said, "I too lost ten sons in war, and I lost myself in grief until I came to this place". The two men sat and talked of their troubles. As the two men talked, a third approached weeping. The first two watched as this third came to the tree. When they asked, the third man, a Potawatomi, told how he had lost ten sons in war and had walked in grief until he came to this beautiful place.
(pronounced Mar-ko-may) is a gifted Canadian singer...
Emmy Award winning musician, social activist and son of...
Dr. Charles A. Eastman, born Ohiyesa (Santee Sioux) Chapter 4: Barbarism and the Moral Code, The Soul of the Indian: An Interpretation, 1911: "One great difference in our ways is that, like the early Christians, the Indian was a socialist. The tribe claimed the ground, the rivers and the game; only personal property was owned by the individual, and even that, it was considered a shame to greatly increase.
WHITE BUFFALO WOMAN
She went into the woods with three strips of silver rawhide thirty inches long...
The Lighting of the Seventh Fire
A Prophecy of Transformation Inspired by a Return to Native American Traditional Values
(Watching Over) Potawatomi
Two Potawatomi Stories
A Creation Story
How the Three Nations (Ojibwe, Ottawa and Potawatomi) Came to Live Together in Peace
Join-in this weekly ongoing conversation, as a pair of shamans discuss Life, Reality and the Truth of our existence and the existential nature of our universe. Their common philosophy is "A Course in Miracles" yet they have their unique experiences and interpretations of a variety of Spiritual topics. The Truth Remains to be the Truth. We welcome you and look forward to your company around this warm fire.
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Yuval Ron and the Yuval Ron Ensemble
World-music artist, composer, producer, educator and peace activist, Yuval Ron works internationally in film, television, dance and theater. Among his many honors, he was invited to perform for the Dalai Lama, for Pir Zia Iniyat Khan (Head of the Sufi International Order), and has produced albums of Turkish master-musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek. In 2006, Yuval won an Oscar for the musical film,West Bank Story, and in 2004 received the Los Angeles Treasures Award. He is the recipient of prestigious grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Composers Forum, California Council for the Humanities and the Rockefeller Foundation, among more.
There is the Young Girl in me traveling west
With the Bear which taught me to look inside.
The Bear stood by himself and said,
There is a Time for Being Alone
So that you do not take on
The appearance of your friends.
There is a time for being at home with yourself.
There is the Young Boy in me traveling east
With the Eagle which taught me to see far and wide.
The Eagle took his distance and said,
There is a Time for Rising Above
So that you do not think
Your small world too important.
There is a time for turning your vision toward the sky.
“Listen, for I speak but once... As I gaze across the waters of the shimmering Fox River, I see the smoke of thousands of teepees where I once saw only gentle prairies and lush forests abundant with game.
Many moons ago, my people were among the first voices to be heard in this land. We came to live in peace with nature. We hunted and fished. We married, bore children, and died at our appointed time. The bones of my people mingle here with the earth. We loved this valley.
It was with great sadness that we had to leave our home. We were few and the settlers were many. The spirits of my ancestors have never left this great valley, and occasionally you may glimpse our shadows or feel our presence as we tread silently along the shores of our beloved Fox River.
Our final prayer as we left our land was that you would love this valley as much as we loved it. We were one with the earth, sky, and water. We were the Neshnabek, the “people” of the valley."
about the environment, indigenous peoples and child rights.
Intuitive Tarot & Astrology Tune-Ups
Chris Anderson (aka Onefeather) has been doing intuitive counseling using Tarot cards and Astrological Chart casting since 1970.
Meet Trevor Hall, as he talks about his music and his life on the road touring
The Potawatomi are members of the Algonquin language group, which are located from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains, and from Hudson Bay to North Carolina. Some of the other tribes in this language group are the Cree, Ottawa, Sauk, Fox, Menominee, Ojibwa, Miami, Shawnee, Delaware, Cheyenne, Blackfeet, and the Arapaho. Scholars have established this classification by language, but this does not mean that the tribes were closely related or that they were allies.
That is the way it was.
That is the way it shall continue
With the Eagle and the Bear
With the Buffalo and the Mouse
In all directions joined with me
To form the circle of my life.
I am an Eagle.
The small world laughs at my deeds.
But the great sky keeps to itself
My thoughts of immortality.
I am a Bear.
In my solitude I resemble the wind.
I blow the clouds together
So they form images of my friends.
I am a Buffalo.
My voice echoes inside my mouth.
All that I have learned in life
I share with the smoke of my fire.
I am a Mouse.
My life is beneath my nose.
Each time that I journey toward the horizon
I find a hole instead.”
"Many Winters: Prose and Poetry of the Pueblos"
“In the distance of my years I cover myself with time
Like a blanket which enfolds me with the layers of my life.
What can I tell you except that I have gone
nowhere and everywhere?
What can I tell you except that I have not begun
my journey now that it is through?
All that I ever was and am yet to be
lies within me now this way.
This is the cyber-repository of various writings, interests, and activities of Onefeather (Chris Anderson). My Native American heritage, my spiritual adventures and my social causes are collected here... frequently updated, with interviews and personal ruminations.
Over the last sixty plus years, I have watched as the world has evolved from a conglomeration of separate and uncommunicative cultural islands, to the era of the internet. This has, no doubt, become a unifying epoch of human awakening, enlightenment and self-discovery.
It is my wish that my observations of the journey I've enjoyed through time and evolution be shared and referenced for future ancestors. Hopefully Onefeather Journal will edify and amuse as well as be a source of further bonding between all my fellow pilgrims here on Turtle Island!
Have fun exploring! Feedback, as well as suggestions or connections to relevant additional resources are welcome and may just become an addition to Onefeather Journal!
"The Medicine Wheel is the circle of life (sometimes referred to as the Sacred Hoop), starting with birth and continuing throughout our lives until death, when we have gone full circle. The Medicine wheel has four directions, each direction offering its own lessons, color, and animal guide. There are two paths shown which cross in the center, at which point, for me, is the heart (for when you work from your heart, you can reach all directions"
Ota Kte (Luther Standing Bear) Oglala Lakota 1868 - 1939