Algonquian Prophecies — Myth or Reality?
by Iron Thunderhorse, March 2007
Joe Bruchac, Abenaki Storyteller once published a small blue booklet about the tale of Great White Moose who elusively moved through the woods of Maine and Vermont like a will-o-the-wisp. The Renapi/Lenape have a legend of the White Deer which predicts that when a pair (male and female) all-white deer are seen together it is a sign that the indigenous peoples of the Dawnland would all come together. This is in accord with the Seven Fires - Prophecies which said that at the time of the seventh fire a choice would have to be made. Either the true human beings (rennawawk) would become an example leading the world with their wisdom from the original instructions given to them by the creator Kehtanit so that the good white path would be followed, or, the failure to set examples leading to humanity, salvation and survival the path of war and strife (painted red) would bring about the self-destruction already prevalent in the world.
In the western upper Plains - the sight of a white buffalo calf is a similar portend that the ancient traditions and religion would return. The Iroquois have a legend of a white dog. The western Algonquians believe the most sacred object for a medicine bundle is an all-black antelope skin, very rare. To the Quinnipiac and other Wampano-Mattabesoc Confederacy Sachemships the skin of an all-black wolf is the most powerful medicine.
In the world of our ancestors, when this land was a virtual paradise, only natural law prevailed. The law of the pack, the herd, the flock were supreme examples of Creator’s will. Animals were and are still the first to sense any slight changes in the natural order of things…they feel subtle shifts in the vibrations that run through the earth like an electromagnetic heartbeat. Birds are first to react when a hurricane is still far off, deer know when danger lurks near or far. When army ants go on a rampage in lands south of the equator the entire world of nature heads in the opposite direction. So, when nature produces these amazing anomalies such as all-black or all-white species these rarities are immediately understood as omens of strange and wonderful things to come. It has been this way since time immemorable and the legends above have been handed down from generation to generation as proof.
In the year 2000 ACQTC began celebrating “THE RETURN OF HOBBOMOCK” which is an ancient prophecy that one day our culture hero, Hobbomock the Stone Giant would return to us and with him would come our language, religion and culture. This would happen when the signs were right. Well, in upstate New York an entire herd of 300 all-white deer are kept on a preserve, protected by guardians who consider them sacred. In Connecticut, homeland of the Quinnipiac, over 100 moose have migrated from the northern herds of Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts and our elders are patiently waiting for Great White Moose to be re-born. It is only a matter of time considering all the other signs in the Dawnland.
Meanwhile, on November 12, 2006 at a private zoo in Farmington, PA our Lenape kindred gathered to honor and hold a welcoming ceremony for the birth of an all-white buffalo calf. Kim ‘Many Weasels’ Ord, wearing a white deerskin dress, gave the newborn white calf the Lenape name kenahkihinen…which means “watch over us”.
White cubs are quite rare. This and many other similar signs occurring in recent days portend good things to come. (photo source unknown)
From all indications the cumulative presence of these omens throughout the Dawnland is a welcomed sight since the Renapi and Lenape have been called by the respected title of the “Grandfathers” of the Dawnland. Today, our air is killing the trees from the top down. Our polluted waters are making the fish float belly up, all foretold in Algonquian and Iroquoian prophecies as well as the prophecies of tribal nations throughout Turtle Island (USA).
Before our twin stone giants left our lands to return to the skyworld it is said all the animals and people spoke the same language but when Hobbomock left we were unable to understand each other so all the animals and people fled in all directions because communication amongst each other was lost. Since the Wapsu (white Europeans) came to our lands these portends got worse and our aboriginal world and the modern world are miles apart. The 4 legged people, the winged people, the insects and fish depend on us. One of our elder Sachems Gordon Fox-Running Brainerd is an apiarist who tends bee hives. In the Lenape homeland of Pennsylvania and in California bee populations are vanishing. Many species of frogs are dying because their metabolisms are sensitive to shifts in the air. In the Dawnland along with the return of the moose to our lands, the bears, bobcats, wild turkeys and fishhawks have also returned when a few decades ago only their memories lingered.
The signs are very clear, even with mass pollution and a land full of concrete and steel monstrosities that are alien to natural law these brothers and sisters and ancestral totems of our clans are running into obstacles…created by the Wapsu. Some of them welcome the animals while others fear them or try to abuse them. These kinfolk of the forests look to us for assistance because one of our original instructions was to care for them as stewards of the land, in our dialect it is Gechanniwitank.
Since the year 2000 ACQTC has faithfully restored our language, our traditional long-house ceremonies, and we have gone to our sacred landmarks to leave offerings and prayers and this spring we will repatriate remains of our ancestors on ancestral ground. Our prophecies said that when the Wapsu arrived here in our land we had to hide our traditions in a cave over the side of a cliff but when Hobbomock returned and the world began to change back to its aboriginal state, these things would be brought back out in the open.
The time has come! We have reached a crossroads in our world, either we all join hands and restore balance to the natural world or this planet will self-destruct. We have the original instructions, in our languages we know which plants and herbs heal, we have ways of restoring life where there has been death. All we need now is cooperation from the Wapsu world. We as Grandfathers have the skill and the knowledge to build alliances, and vast confederacies. In the past we did these things to resist encroachments, now we must do better to save the world from self-destruction.
Noh kukkehtah ne-ruwauwungansh - newutche - noh nearrious negonne rewamuks
(Hearken to my words - because - they are ancient prophecies).
Kesseh, hisht (Behold, It Is So).
Biwabiko Paddaquahas/Iron Thunderhorse