Emergency planning for Onkwehonwe communities: The answer is in the knowledge we possess

By Thohahoken

OHSWEKEN — The time for talking and philosophizing is over. We’re being distracted from what we are facing. It is now time to “do”.

What happens at Iroquois communities in the Great Lakes watershed in the case of an emergency? Events in Japan on March 11, 2011 should raise concerns for emergency planning here. But surely, these risks only exist elsewhere. Why would we bother worrying here?

The question was raised in the 1990s by Six Nations Against Pollution (SNAP). How do we protect our Children from any threat to their health?

At that time the threat from environmental pollution included the 1989 boycott of Six Nations asbestos and black mould filled schools. This was followed by Oka in 1990. In 1991 SNAP stopped the construction of the recycling plant for Toronto’s garbage that was to be built at Six Nations.

The environmental threat remains the biggest threat to our health and survival. Sometimes we get trapped in the hysterical claims that predict catastrophes — such as the Russian Institute of Earth Physics prediction of a major earthquake in North America in 2011 in Arkansas. These kinds of predictions should awaken us to thinking about where we live.

The Iroquois territory is in the middle of the southern Great Lakes seismic (earthquake) zone that is in the St. Lawrence Fault System that reaches from Ohio to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The Ottawa River valley connects to a fault line system reaching west to the Rocky Mountains.

The St. Lawrence connects to the New Madrid Fault Line in the Missouri-Arkansas region in the southeastern United States. The McDonald County Emergency Management Agency (MCEMA) website recognizes the New Madrid fault line and has planned training operations this year.

It should be a concern to all Indigenous People that on this fault line system sits 20 nuclear reactors. This fact alone should cause the People to ask: “So what’s the plan? What happens if there’s a natural catastrophe that creates a man-made disaster?”

So. What is the plan? Is there anything to worry about?

Japan tsunami survivors indicate many Japanese people on Japan’s east coast thought the same thing even when the catastrophe was on them. Survivors said that many people took the warnings for granted, thought the threat was distant and did not move. Sendai, Japan survivors wandered the devastated landscape searching for relatives. The death toll climbed into the hundreds of thousands.

One could blame the recent overkill of television shows that have depicted Doomsday for the response in Japan. Television shows on 2012 constantly point to Nostradamus, Biblical and Mayan prophecies of Doomsday. Give me a break. Not another Doomsday prophecy.

And when the real thing happens people are already overloaded and skeptical.

The culture and teachings of the Rotinosyonni Iroquois do include many stories that could be called prophecies about a future disaster.

Here’s a partial list:

1. At the end our leaders’ heads will be rolling around in the road and they’ll be throwing ashes on each other.

2. The races of the earth will be fighting over a black serpent called crude-oil.

3. The People gather and decide who they want speaking for them, what is important and sort out their clans.

4. After the rebirth of the Indigenous People, when take our rightful place as an international people, an astronomical event takes place where our Older Brother the Sun kicks the Earth.

This period in our history when the People get it back together is called Kakaratsikowa—the Great Swamp Elm.

As the Old Ones said our development has four stages. The first is called “Kanonweratonshera” where Creation is honoured. Following the Dark Times the second era is called “Kayaneresherakowa” or The Great Law. After a great collapse caused by the American Revolution, the era of “Kariwhiyo” teaches survival. Finally, the Kakaratsikowa fourth era precedes a global calamity.

Why are these stories memory rather than prophecy?

Firstly, the Iroquois tradition actually retells memories of events that happen every 26,000 years on Earth — the polarity reversal of the earth and sun, the solar storms that all happen in 2012 and the Sun’s 26,000 year cycle to lineup with the centre of the Milky Way galaxy that causes the super solar flare to kick the Earth.

Secondly, these memories provide a basis for a rich heritage of Indigenous arts and sciences that are at the basis of our belief in our ancestors and the knowledge they gave to us their Children.

Thirdly, we are also pragmatic enough to know that we possess enough Indigenous Knowledge for surviving without gas and hydro in many of our own lifetimes.

We can look at the recent events as a time to promote an Indigenous lifestyle. In fact we could become Indigenous people in practice rather than just existing as a theory of a ourselves. We can inventory our collective knowledge for living an Indigenous life.

We need to put the theory of ourselves into practice.

This review of forecasts and predictions intends to attract discussion and instigate a conversation among the Indigenous Peoples. Pam Colorado wrote about the Maya in similar terms to the description I pose here. The Eagle people live in the Land of Winds (Amerikua) and met every six years and shared their knowledge at the headwaters of the Mississippi near Rugby, North Dakota, the geographic centre of North America.

At their last meeting in the1480s our Mayan relatives said they built a nine-terraced pyramid at Chitchen Itza that was carefully coded. The pyramid has nine terraces.Each face of the four-sided pyramid has 13 steps for a total of 52 per terrace. The arithmetic is simple. The total number of steps on the pyramid totals 468. They said:

Our lost white brother returns, but we think he has become corrupted so be careful with your knowledge. This pyramid calculates what will happen.

Our children will live through nine hells. But at the end of these nine hells our children will revive our old knowledge and help those for what will come next. Some will listen. Some will not. A serpent will descend from the sky and strike the earth.

When this occurs the earth will be changed. After a long winter the real human beings will emerge into the era of 13 heavens.

After the era of the nine hells the pyramid forecasts the return of a Sky Serpent that will strike the earth. After this happens the Old Ones said their Children would dig up the old knowledge to survive into the time of the 13 heavens. Do the math — 468 (years) and 1492 (since Columbus) equals 1960. The generations born around 1960 live through Kakaratsikowa.

At this time the Old Ones say the big man comes from the East and kicks the earth. People in the Alberta say a fiery serpent descends from the sky and carries 1,000 mph winds. The southwestern Sac and Fox say the fiery serpent brings 500 mph winds. There will be a great change in the earth and once the violence has ended peace shall return to the earth. That is the era of the 13 heavens.

What preparations will be made? Who carries knowledge for survival? What Indigenous Knowledge will we need to survive the long winter? What happens when the current civilization descends into chaos? Did we learn anything since 1492? Many more questions than those listed here need to be asked — and answered.

Here’s one answer. We need to find out who knows Indigenous arts and sciences in areas of Indigenous lodge construction, agriculture, food pit construction, mound construction, water supply, herbal gardens, wasase, pottery, kiln construction and language education.

The time for “talking” is over. It is now time to “do”. If something happens we’re ready. If nothing happens at least we’re Indigenous People again. We have nothing to lose.

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