and People at Standing Rock
by Doug George-Kanentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk
The power and influence of prophecy among the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations
Iroquois) has been a central part of our culture since the birth of the league
of peace long before the arrival of the refugees from across the salt water to
the east of Anowara:kowa, the Great Turtle.
When Skennenrahowi, the Peacemaker, raised the first Tree of Peace on the
southern shore of Lake Onondaga (now Syracuse, NY) he not only gave those
assembled a constitution and a common purpose he also imparted teachings about
times to come. He predicted the arrival of the refugees, those fleeing the
oppression and suffering of their homelands to search for freedom here. His
instruction was clear: to use whatever means available to teach the principles
of the Great Law of Peace and thereby bring an end of warfare among all nations
and to show the world that harmony between the natural world and human beings
but is shared among all Haudenosaunee and was spoken by the late Leon
Shenandoah, Tadodaho of the Confederacy.
One of the most profound prophecies was that of the two serpents, one silver and
one gold, creatures who lived in the salt water ocean but would be found
floundering by the Native people and given safety here. The story is told on the
It is important in that it tells of the destruction of the land by the salt
water people and what will happen when the indigenous nations and the earth
itself are under mortal stress.
Shenandoah told of the dying of the elms, the maples, the strawberry plants, the
loss of culture and the resurgence of traditional values. My wife, the composer
Joanne Shenandoah, put this to song with her ballad "One Silver, One Gold"
recorded on the album "Eagle Cries" with Bruce Cockburn.
There are other very specific prophecies people can read. The Seneca writer
Arthur C. Parker in his book "Parker on the Iroquois" from Syracuse University
Press has a chapter on the Handsome Lake Code. The Code came about in 1799 when
the Seneca leader Handsome Lake had visions as to the future and how the
Iroquois were to survive the loss of their ancestral lands and the attempts to
destroy our culture. The Code has had a profound impact on the Haudenosaunee and
his prophecies clear and unmistakable Handsome Lake tells of times to come. He
cites climatic changes, the loss of the the ozone layer, the coming of great
destructive winds, the rise of people who will boast of their evil intent and
the power they have derived from exploiting corruption and violence.
In an article in
I summarize more of these prophecies. This is nothing exceptional as our
Iroquois leaders have, for many decades, shared this information and tried to
warn the world of what is about to happen if they continue on the path of
One prophecy among the Mohawks is that when the world was being formed there
were the twins Okwirase (Sapling) and Tawiskaron (Flint). The former was the
good and the latter the bad. They found themselves in a series of contests in
which led to Flint being confined deep into the earth with his favorite
creatures, the leather skin dragons with the flashing red eyes, with him.
To stop the lizards from coming back to the surface Sapling assigned the Thunder
Beings to keep them there. It is said that whenever lightning strikes the earth
it is at that place where the serpents are trying to claw their way to the
But, it is told, there will come a time when human beings will become
disrespectful of the earth to the point where the rivers are polluted and the
skies contaminated. The serpents will then emerge and cause more destruction,
spewing their foulness to an already suffering planet.
That time has come to pass. The drilling of the earth has released the serpents,
the dragons have risen. The oil we consume is the remnants of those lizards
combined with the plants of their era. The prophecy is being lived through right
now. And the changes foretold will become more intense, more dramatic and
destructive as the earth tries to heal.
As for the Native people, the earth protectors, they will almost fade away
before once again asserting themselves. They will find a way to defeat the
dragons and Flint but it will require unity and an unwavering dedication to
preserve their ancestral teachings.
That is the message to the people at Standing Rock. There is hope, there is
light as long as they hold on to the principles of peace and unity. Ouyr
ancestors will respond in ways unforeseen and remarkable.
did you donate to the camp - there is stone camp
which is the original and is a cultural camp
with tons of help the oc'eti s'akowin camp that
over sees the whole camps which is standingrock.org
and paying legal fees to the suit and
red warrior camp from pine ridge - the
standingrock.org is getting mixed up with
the others and not getting to them and need the
most help - thanks
for tori help and concern.