Close Button

Indigenous Arts & Stories - Seventh Fire Leadership

Seventh Fire Leadership

2018 - Art Winner

Tehatsistahawi Kennedy

London, ON
Beausoleil First Nation
Age 16

Author's Statement

This piece that I have created represents my leadership through my culture and teachings. My heart and mind is driven by my willingness to bring my people forward in any way I can, whether it’s through my artwork, my words or my actions. There is an Anishinaabe Prophecy, the Seven Fires Prophecy. Each fire represents an important point in my people’s past, present and future. The seventh fire describes the movement of our youth today; it talked about how the youth of the indigenous people will retrace their steps and return to the original teachings, and bring healing to the world. The left side of this artwork in blue represents our past and the teachings that are found in our history as Anishinaabe and Onyota’aka. These teachings we look to today as they guide us towards the future in a healthy way. The eagle, the buffalo and the turtle all hold a great significance in our culture. On the turtle's shell rests the Lodge of the Anishinaabe and the Longhouse of the Haudenosaunee, this represents the historic relationship between the two. The three animals are connected to the three strands that make my braid. As indigenous men our long hair connects us to the earth and our culture. Our hair is sacred, the three strands that make up my braid is made with the balance I need in my daily life. In front of my face just above the center, are the youth. Our youth are our future, and it is important that we guide them in a way that ensures the betterment of our people. Through our culture we find purpose, and unfortunately for our youth the realization of purpose is not always abundant. Without purpose a child can find themselves lost, and can be susceptible to turning towards the wrong path. A path of drugs, alcohol and violence; our communities are troubled with these things along with high suicide rates. On the far left I included the DAPL protest. There are hundreds of examples of oppression and conflict besides the DAPL conflict, and the strength my people have shown through coming together during times like this represents the rise of the seventh fire in the 7 Fires Prophecy. Our strength has grown, but the pride within our people has never left. We are resilient and proud. Yaw^ko, miigwech.