I’ve been struggling over this term “ally” for a long time now. Many “light skinned” people have approached me, wondering how to improve relations with me, and my Nation, and other Onkwehon:we nations. On the ACTION website, we have a little heading titled “Settler Allyship”. We didn’t write any of the material in the heading, it was completely borrowed from other people/organizations that have written about this term “allyship”. I initially put that heading up, to give some people guidelines to follow, because many people began asking me about this term “ally”. I’ve given this several months of thought, and I’ve finally derived an answer. Allow me to begin by quoting the 4th Fire Prophecy as described in Eddie Benton Banai’s The Mishomis Book:
“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 of 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 then in total trust. You shall know that the face they wear is one of death if the rivers run with poison and fish become unfit to eat. You shall know them by these many things.”
When this prophecy was given the word used to describe the “Light Skinned” race/nation was “Brother”. They didn’t not have a concept for “ally” back then. Which brings me to my thinking of the present. If I/we are truly going to live this Biskaabiiyang, or “decolonization”, then I/we must begin reviving the context in who we really are.
The term ally, in a literal term means friend. It is a word with huge inter-relational barriers. Who came up with term anyhow? Ally in its origins comes from the french word “alien”. History has proven that the “Light Skinned” race came bearing the face of death. And now we find ourselves in the disastrous times of the 7th Fire. This era of the 7th Fire is a battle ground, and many conflicts are occurring and will continue to occur.
Onkwehon:we people have wampum agreements with the British Crown, where we are termed as “Allies”. Look at what they have done to us, under this term “ally”. Shall I list all the genocidal practices that they have done to us? I’m sure you get the idea I’m getting at.
I have known thousands of “light skinned” people in my lifetime. But only a handful of people that I can actually consider my brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles. Allies, in the literal term means “friends” and because of this context, there is a barrier that is put up. And I have no doubt in my head that barriers need to be put in place. Like the prophecy says, let them prove themselves to be wearing the face of brotherhood. We need to keep ourselves safe, for there are many infiltrators and ego activists out there, that are only in if for themselves. We need to always be cautious.
But many Onkwehon:we and Light skinned people, never move beyond this “allyship” term, and for many it will always be that way. The face of the colonizers, was the face of death, and their skin was light in nature. We have every reason to be distrustful of them, and keep them at arms length. But at the same time, we must recognize that in order to survive the 7th Fire, and move into the 8th Fire, we have to decolonize this term “ally”.
There are light skinned people in my closest circles, and they are closer than some Onkwehon:we peoples. They suffer out on the frontlines with me. We partake in ceremony together, we feast together, laugh together, we live as family.
They know who they are, I don’t have to list their names. Some that I’ve been working with are considered my family, but others not so much yet. There is still some work that needs to be carried out. For the most part, the majority of people, will never understand and grasp this term Brotherhood/sisterhood. The wounds are just too deep. But the 8th Fire distinctly states, that we must unite in Brotherhood (Sisterhood) in order to light that final fire.
There is work to be done. Lots of work to be done, to break the walls that we have built around us. There are many potential brothers and sisters out there whose skins are not only light, but many colors. I recognize this, and those are the ones that I mostly want to work with.
Allies are fiends. I have many friends. But I don’t have a lot of people that I would consider family. And that is truly a fundamental flaw, in the way things are carried out in colonial society.
You want to learn to become a brother or sister to me, then start treating me like one, and I will reciprocate. If you are still confused, come hang out with me, and walk with me. This Biskaabiiyaang process isn’t just and Onkwehon:we thing. Its a people thing, and we are all in this together.
The future of humanity depends on it. When the purification really begins, and we find ourselves in the midst of battle, as looters, marauders, rapists and murders emerge, I don’t want to share the frontline with “allies”. I need only look to what was done to Grandfather Tecumseh to innerstand what happens to allies. I want to light that 8th Fire. I want to call all peoples, my family.
But there is much work to be done, and not a whole lot of time to do it.
All my relations