"The fundamental essence of Anishinaabe life is unity. The oneness of all things. In our view history is expressed in the way that life is lived each day. Key to this is the belief that harmony with all created things has been achieved. The people cannot be separated from the land with its cycle of seasons or from the other mysterious cycles of living things - of birth and growth and death and new birth. The people know where they come from. The story is deep in their hearts. It has been told in legends and dances, in dreams and in symbols. It is in the songs a grandmother sings to the child in her arms and in the web of family names, stories, and memories that the child learns as he or she grows older. This is a story of the spirit - individual and collective."
- William W. Warren (1825-1853), historian, member of the Midewiwin, and great-grandson of Chief Waabijijaak (Whooping Crane) of the Crane Clan.
“If the New People will remain strong in their quest the Water Drum of the Midewiwin Lodge will again sound its voice. There will be a rebirth of the Anishinaabe Nation and a rekindling of old flames. The Sacred Fire will again be lit."
- The Seventh Fire Prophecy
Today's story is woven around two powerful canvases by my artist friend Simone McLeod (Ahki-ekwanīsit), name doodem (Sturgeon Clan) from Pasqua, Saskatchewan, as well as a set of gold wedding bands handcrafted in my jeweler’s studio. In addition, the story is illustrated with a beautiful painting by the unequaled Manitoulin Island painter Leland Bell (Bebaminojmat), who belongs to Anishinaabe maang doodem (the Loon Clan). Simone's paintings are, respectively, titled “Our Fires (2015)” and “Fire Keepers Igniting Our Spirit (2014).” The title of Mr. Bell's canvas, which he painted in 1983, is “Coming of the Three Fires.”