Signs of the times as told by elders
2012 — yikes!
People fear the end of the world. It’s in our minds. Organized religions and governments teach fear of death. Repent or go to hell. Buy insurance—because you never know.
Around 25 years ago, New Agers popularly wrote about what they called Mayan Prophesies of the year 2012. Yikes! The Mayas did say that the Star Calendar and the Earth Calendar match up only once in 6,000 years. That conjunction occurs around 2012.
Moreover, the New Agers preached doom and gloom. What else could they do. They come from a society that lives in fear.
In 2007, Akhwesahsne was gripped with a tense border dispute. At that time, Elder Jake Swamp noticed what was going on in the world. The inventory included: (1) FEMA in the U.S. stockpiling portable caskets continent-wide (2) George Bush spending $8 billion restoring 20 underground military bases as “gated communities” for the rich (3) the crashing paper-money economy (4) global climate change (5) the shifting earth and (6) despair among the people.
Clearly, the elder related these events to Rotinohnsyonni teachings. In the days of the Great Swamp Elm (Kakaratsikowa) we’d see strange terminal diseases, strange behaviour by wildlife, strange fights for control of oil (black snake), strange activity by the Sun (Big Man kicks the earth), and a break down in our society (leaders throw ashes on each other).
As with elder-teachers like Jake Thomas, the time of the Great Swamp Elm described by Jake Swamp begins with a time of renewal—where the People would be revitalized and take their rightful place in the world. For Swamp this meant healing “our Indigenous Peoples are carrying a great burden of grief caused by the colonization of the past five hundred years”.
The Elder Swamp describes a dream where Indigenous People gathered by a great river. These people were dressed in white with red head bands. He said they looked heavy hearted and sad.
“As I was looking I saw a hand appear on my shoulder,” Elder Swamp said of his dream. “It was a man’s hand but I didn’t see him, I only heard his voice directed to me.
“He said, ‘onta:on enseyatakenha thikon” meaning ‘you have to help them’.”
The messenger’s visit prompted Swamp to call for the “They Shall Wipe Each Others’ Tears Ceremony” (Great Condolence Ceremony), at the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota on June 21, 2012. From 2007 to 2010 the call went to the Four Directions. Indigenous People of the Americas would meet in the geographic centre of North America where they’d met every six years prior to 1492.
Oneida scholar Elder Pam Colorado wrote about the headwaters conventions as well. 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. In their last meeting in the 1480s the Maya said they built a nine- terraced pyramid at Chitchen Itza that was carefully coded with time calculations.
The pyramid has nine terraces. Each face of the four-sided pyramid has 13 steps for a total of 52 steps per terrace. The arithmetic is simple. The total number of steps on the pyramid is 468, added to the year 1492—or 1960.
“Our lost white brother returns, but we think he has become corrupted so be careful with your knowledge,” said the Maya at the 1480s meeting. “This pyramid calculates what will happen. Our children will live through nine hells (468 years).
“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. Our people say the Big Man comes from the east and kicks the earth. People in the northwest say a fiery serpent descends from the sky and carries 1,000 miles-per-hour winds. In the southwest those People say the fiery serpent brings 500 miles-per-hour 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—or as Swamp and Thomas said after Kakaratsikowa there will be “1,000 years of Peace”.
From June 18 to 23, 2012 Indigenous People gathered at Leech Lake, Minnesota. There were Indigenous Peoples from the four directions. On June 21 the gathering travelled to the small lake located on a hilltop where the Mississippi begins. It was here that Akhwesahsne Elder Ernest David delivered the seven-string condolence by People from the Woodlands, for the People from West. David was assisted by Kanatsiohareke Elder Tom Porter.
The People from Ohsweken participated by providing a thirteen bead white wampum that was touched by all those at the gathering. Once the “Wiping of the Tears” was finished, Ohswekenron:nen Elder Renee Thomas took the beads and went into the lake and washed the wampum strings. The beads traveled back to Akhwesahsne before they were returned to Six Nations in 2014.
Jake Swamp-Tekaronianeken, was described in Indian Country Now as the Wolf Clan Mohawk diplomat, author, teacher, chief, husband, father, grandparent and great-grandparent who died in October 15, 2010. The passion of his dream was carried forward by his family. The Condolence happened.
The time of Kakaratsikowa means that the people take their rightful place in the world. According to these teachings the people straighten out the clans, recover the old knowledge of how to live without electricity and fossil fuels, and decide who they want speaking for them. Those who mock this renewal of the Great Peace suffer mental anguish and illness—like those in power today.
When the League of the Five Nations covered the fire in 1838 they said there would be a time when the fire would be rekindled. The elders have shown that 2012 signaled the start of that renewal. Onen yeyohe Kakaratsikkowa.
Thohahoken Michael Doxtater is an educator from Six Nations.