Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York

Native American Prophecy & European Discovery, 1609

For August 2010 Author of the Month on the Graham Hancock web site we a pleased to welcome writer, seeker and teacher Evan Pritchard. Evan is a descendant of the Micmac people (part of the Algonquin nations) and is the founder of The Center for Algonquin Culture. He has taught in Native American studies at Marist and Vassar Colleges, and Pace University, and is currently Professor of Native American history at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, where he also teaches ethics and philosophy.

He is the author of Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York and Native New Yorkers, The Legacy of the Algonquin People of New York.

He is also the author of the widely praised No Word For Time, the Way of the Algonquin People, and many other books, including an Algonkian language series.

Professor Pritchard has given “Native New Yorker” walking tours of lower Manhattan for the Smithsonian Institute, The Open Center, South Street Seaport, and other institutions. He has recently shared his findings on Native American life in Manhattan on Leonard Lopate’s New York And Company show, on WBAI/ Pacifica Radio, ABC news, several NPR shows, New Dimensions, Maryknoll Productions and on other stations around the country. Native Peoples Magazine published a feature article on Native New Yorkers in the November/December 2002 issue, and a recent Village Voice cover article by Erik Baard was based, in part, on Pritchard’s book

Please welcome Evan Pritchard to the www.grahamhancock.com Forum and message boards. See his website at http://www.wilkesweb.us/algonquin/index.htm

Henry Hudson in a Time of Prophecy
Excepts and Essays by Evan Pritchard

There are a great number of issues addressed in my new book Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York. In this essay, I will focus on the Seven Fires Prophecies and the mathematical problems they present in terms of astronomy and the timing of human events. I welcome your polite comments.
Evan Pritchard

Excerpt from Chapter One: Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York
by Evan T. Pritchard, published by Council Oak Books 2009

.…It should not be surprising to learn that the Algonquin perspective concerning Henry Hudson’s historic visit would be different than that told in most English history books. I for one firmly believe that the saga of the Half Moon of 1609 began 392 years before, on a tiny island in the Bay of Fundy still called Fire Island by the Mi’kmaq people who live nearby and who consider it a sacred shrine. It was there in what would become St. Johns, New Brunswick, Canada, that a series of eight prophets arrived, according to the Red Sky Scrolls. They brought warnings for the future and teachings for the ages. They brought these to the Algonquian speaking people, and, so some believe, for all humankind. They spoke of “medicine wheels,” and hoops within hoops of what we’d call ecosystems, and hoops within hoops of what we’d call “time,” though there still today is no such word in the local language of the Mi’kmaq people.

In order to warn the people of certain moments far into the future at which time they would have to make decisions that might affect the future of the planet, the prophets provided a calendar of sorts. There was already a cycle of the day and the positions of the sun and moon; already a cycle of the month, which went from new moon to new moon; and there was a solar “year” and a lunar “year” marked out on the backs of “moon turtles.” The prophets also taught of a “life walk” cycle, of 56 years, 14 years per each of the four directions, which each of us walks in our own way. I was taught by Wabanaki elders (the late Irvin Polchis among others) that this wheel or hoop took 56 years to complete, 14 years per each of the directions [traveling clockwise starting in the east at birth and arriving in the south at the age of 14, arriving in the west at age 28, arriving in the north at age 42, and coming full circle in the east again at 56. This wheel corresponds with the moon wheel around the edge of certain turtles’ backs, such as the spotted pond turtle and the snapper, which is divided into 28 scutes by nature. Several of the great stone Medicine Wheels on the eastern slope of the continental divide have 28 spokes, and even suggest the turtle’s shape in other ways as well. Divide each of these spaces in two and you have your 56 spoke wheel as can be used as a calculator to keep track of the “life walk” cycles.]

It was said that in the time of Creation, we were each granted two cycles, which I assume to be 112 years, but as an approximation, as the universe is constantly in flux. Those who reach the age of 56 today are often considered elders by native people, though one’s actions speak louder than the gray hairs that appear. Even then, foolishness and angry ways had cut that time in half for many native people. The prophets said that each lifespan-length was to be called a “fire,” and that seven of these fires laid end to end would be the length of the era of the great prophecy that was about to begin, the era of “the seven fires.” This was the largest of hoops, [again shown by a single stone ring or turtle shell, with each “fire” represented by 8 of the 56 scutes or spokes, each scute now representing 14 years of that cycle] a single round of which would take 784 [112 x 7] years to “walk.” The important highlights would be preceded (or in some cases, followed) by solar eclipses, rings of fire visible from the Bay of Fundy’s Fire Island, and would roughly coincide with the newness or the fullness of that cycle. Evidently, wherever these “prophets” came from, they were people who understood something about eclipses and Saros cycles.

These prophets foretold of seven cycles to come and what would happen in each fire. The prediction about each “fire” was presented by one prophet. However the fourth and central “fire” (the one directly opposite the starting point on the wheel) was so important it was represented by two prophets. It was a teaching in duality, a morality play on a grand scale.

According to accounts still preserved by the Midewiwin lodges (mostly now in the Great Lakes region) a prophet of the fourth fire told the people of visitors from the eastern direction who would come in brotherhood to teach them new things they never knew. Then another prophet of the fourth fire came and told them of visitors from the eastern direction who would be filled with hatred, bringing weapons of war. They were told that if these the eastern visitors did indeed come in brotherhood, all would be well and a new “rainbow” race would emerge on Turtle Island (their name for North America), a mingling of the four colors of humanity, which the elders say was known because of the four colors of the birches, red, brown, white, and yellow. However, if the visitors came with weapons of war, their arrival could lead to disaster at the end of the seven fires, unless the fears and misunderstandings could be worked out. If both types of visitors came together, well, that was a different story. It would bring a series of difficult tests for the native people of Turtle Island.

The Algonquin spiritual leadership must therefore have been primed for the arrival of visitors in September 1609, the central year of the central “fire” of the seven, the furthermost point on the wheel from the beginning/ending, in their cyclical view of time. At that time they made a special wampum belt to record these prophecies. The belt is of purple and white, with a diamond representing each “fire” or cycle of time. This magnificent work of art features a double diamond in the fourth position at the center, where the belt buckle would be if fastened behind as a sash or belt. There are many layers of meaning imbedded into that magical weave; however, one that all agree on is that it represents the passage of time, measured by the sun and moon. Therefore, the center of this diamond would have been included, through a complex system of lunar and solar calendars, August 28, September 11 and October 1, 1609, [days important to Henry Hudson] as we shall see.

The leadership had studied the skies and consulted with the seers and prophets, and had prepared songs, stories, and special gifts for the visitors. In the minds of the less informed, the visitors might be prophets themselves, from a highly advanced race of beings living across the water. It was incredibly important for the future of the earth that things go well for the predicted visitors and for their hosts. The Munsee remembered this in 1849 and mentioned it in their letter to Zachary Taylor:

“Previous to your arrival into our vast Continent, our Ancient Prophets and wise men had a Vision and Revelation in regard to your coming, though they did not understand fully the meaning of it, whether it was to be the Almighty himself or our fellow men, this was a matter of deep consideration for a while with our forefathers until you did arrive.

“Our ancient men, without any delay made a Song concerning their expectation of your coming. Likewise a Drum was made for the purpose, out of the shell of a Sea Turtle. The drumming and their singing of the song were connected together and were performed jointly together, and also dancing which was performed with great solemnity in honor of your coming.”

The lodge leaders and uninitiated alike were bracing themselves for this spiritual test. Thus the stage was set for the arrival of the unsuspecting Henry Hudson, a compassionate man for the most part, a free spirit who felt a sense of fondness for Native Americans, probably more than for his crew. They were also prepared for the arrival of Officer Robert Juet, a treacherous man who would later have his own captain killed in a mutiny that he apparently had planned for years. Ironically, except for three pages from Hudson’s diary, Officer Juet’s ship’s log is all that has survived to record the journey from the Europeans’ perspective. On the other hand, the “seven fires” wampum belt is in pristine condition, in the hands of William Commanda, an Algonquin Nation elder of Quebec who has been highly decorated by the Canadian Government for his spiritual leadership and work for social equality. He himself is only 16 winters short of a “fire” and has walked the earth to spread the message of the prophets.

Both Juet’s log and the wampum belt are four hundred years old. While the meaning of Juet’s narrative has been lost to most until now, the teachings of that belt have been carefully preserved as they have been passed down for four hundred years to elders like Eddie Benton Banaise, the Medicine Chief of the Three Fires lodge and author of The Mishomis Book.

The Europeans came in search of a navigable passage through North America to the Far East. Henry Hudson’s ship, the 85-foot long Half Moon, attempted to pass through the icy waters of northern Canada, but they found the waterway crowded with icebergs and the ship’s crew nearly mutinied. (Juet leaves this out of his diary.) Hudson turned south to seek other passages west, hoping to find one at 40 degrees latitude. Earlier in the trip, the Half Moon had visited Nova Scotia not far from St. John’s, New Brunswick, and there was conflict there with the natives. Juet explains away his violent acts,“They would have done the same to us,” implying that the natives didn’t get a chance to do anything first.

Unable to fulfill his duties as described in writing by the Dutch East India Company’s corporate directors, Hudson went south to warm the hearts of his “frozen” crew of mutineers and also to search for the fabled places his hero Giovanni di Verrazzano described in his diary of 1524. Suddenly finding himself with no schedule, a “free spirit,” Hudson somehow slipped into the Algonquin equivalent of dreamtime. On August 28, by the dark of the moon (which signified to the elders of the secret lodges the end of the first lunar year since the eclipse of the fourth fire) Hudson entered and explored the gateway to the river of the Lenape, or “ordinary people.” For the people on shore, the prophecies had been fulfilled, and nothing short of disaster could convince them otherwise. Henry Hudson, the ever-punctual Londoner, had arrived precisely on time.

Needless to say, the people of the bay were overjoyed. This large bay, which Verrazzano had glimpsed and called Vandome, is now called Delaware Bay, and Hudson is given credit for its true discovery. But the intrepid Hudson could not enjoy his success for long—his ship got stuck in the mud and he had to turn around after only a few hours.

He then sailed the Half Moon along the barrier reefs of New Jersey headed north, looking for a fabled “interior passage” to China at the fortieth parallel, a latitude that ancient sailors knew to be, for a variety of reasons, favorable to great civilizations and magnificent cities. A few hours past midnight, they saw a fire on a hill in the distance, the first reported sign of human habitation in the region. They came closer. At dawn of September 2, they found the fire on a hill and at the foot of the hill was an entrance through the barrier reef, and it was at 40 degrees north latitude exactly. This is now called Barnegat Inlet. There were natives tending the fire on the hill. Were they lighting a lamp to welcome strangers from the east, Hudson and his crew? Were they lighting a beacon to guide their own boats through the narrow inlet as Barnegat Light does today? Or were they lighting a council fire to discuss the arrival of messengers from another civilization? We don’t know. The Half Moon sailed right by. There was strange tidal activity before the fire, as the lake or channel behind the islands would fill at high tide and empty at low tide.

The Half Moon turned north and explored Barnegat Bay up to Tom’s River. They soon determined Tom’s River was not a passageway to China and headed out of the bay via Cranberry Inlet and back into the Atlantic. It was lucky for them that the inlet was open. Cranberry Inlet seems to have been appearing and disappearing on an eighty-year cycle at that time, and has reappeared twice since then. If it had been closed, they would have had to backtrack over twenty miles and then come back up along the seaward side, losing a day in the process. (This unpredictable channel is now blocked by a patch of sand, and the town of Seaside Park, New Jersey, sits on top of that patch.)

They then sailed around Sandy Hook to Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island, and on Thursday, September 3, they saw “three great rivers,” which were the “Great Kills” of Great Kills Harbor, which exist now in name only. They tried to navigate inside the point, and approached the largest of the kills, which was right inside the peninsula, but found it too shallow for the Half Moon and exited the harbor. The next day, on Friday, September 4, Hudson sent a rowboat to measure the depths of the harbor, and then went in again, using a different approach. Hudson sent a fishing crew into the shallows of the harbor to fish and found a large manta ray “as great as four men could haul into the ship.” Officer Juet writes, “. . . many great rays.” These were the giant manta rays, a sacred fish to the Canarsie and other Long Island natives. They call it the “eagle ray,” because of its ability to leap and then glide in the air, and the “Guardian of the Sea,” while the Europeans call it the “devil ray.” They are no longer found in the area, which may be due to a change in temperature and water quality as well as over-hunting.

Not satisfied with the many other fish they found in great size and abundance, the fishermen were obsessed with capturing the colossal manta as a kind of trophy and beat it to death. The muscular sailors then strained to carry the strangelooking being onto the deck of the main ship.

Meanwhile, Hudson went ashore to greet the people. The moment Hudson stepped onshore, the natives all stood around and sang to welcome him. The Europeans were given many gifts, mostly of tobacco, and they traded with the native people, at least some of whom seemed to live on the beach in temporary shelters, while a great number came from a few miles away in every direction. Some were allowed onto the ship. The men traded extensively in furs and food with the native people. The people had smoking pipes made of yellow copper from 85 miles away (near what is today Ellenville, New York) which they wore as pendants. As the cook began to cut the manta up with his sword, (more about the sword later) we can assume the Canarsie were horrified, possibly tearful. The hungry men ignored the pleas and warnings of the Canarsie and began to eat it Friday night, probably in front of the Canarsie. One can imagine the Canarsie women on board, singing the manta songs as they knelt to pray for the alien-looking creature.

Saturday, September 5, Hudson then sailed west two miles to Prince’s Bay, passing Wolfe’s Pond, where they were amazed at the towering oaks. Canarsiespeaking natives brought them tobacco and corn of various levels of cultivation from what is now Old Town, Staten Island, part of the Arrochar Region that is still marked on maps of Staten Island. John Colman and the other members of the crew feasted on the manta, oblivious to the taboos of the territory in which they were guests.

On Sunday, the morning of September 6, now fortified with a big meal, the crew’s English strongman, John Colman, led a small crew of six in a rowboat to explore Muscouten, now called the East River. They rowed up the Kikeshika (Harlem River), and then back down, smelling sweet scents in the air. They went east as far as Long Island Sound and then turned around. As the fog lowered and rain began to fall, they unwittingly headed straight towards the mouth of the Bronx River and for the heavily guarded Snakapins Wampum Factory, where much of the wampum for the Iroquois (Hodenosuannee) Confederacy and for the various nations of the “River Indians” was cut and stored. It was like barging into Fort Knox unannounced. Two large canoes filled with 26 heavily armed warriors, approached them, shouting at them to turn around. Colman’s crew shouted back, not understanding. Colman was shot with an arrow through the throat and died on the return trip. It was such an uncanny shot, one wonders who unleashed it; the father of the famed Wampage perhaps? The remainder of the crew tried to get away but paddled right into the Hellgate and some of the most treacherous crosscurrents on the east coast. Finally, they managed to get to a shore, and exhausted, spent a few hours hiding and caring for Colman. At dawn they continued south and at 10 am finally found the ship and told their tragic story. By this time John, a beloved senior officer, had died. Was it bad luck? Or the curse of the manta ray, as Long Island natives would have presumed?

Sometime around high noon on Monday, September 7, Hudson took the ship to Wards Point, where the deep channel (now the Ambrose Channel) comes closest to the land, to bury Colman’s body there. It is just below the bluff where lay the famous Native American burial grounds of Tottenville and a Raritan Unami village. The rowboat arrived quickly at the shore, they dragged Colman’s body from the boat, frantically dug a hole, and then dragged his body into the hole, and just as quickly covered it up. They put up waist-boards on both sides of the rowboat, fearful of an attack from above, and then were hauled safely back to the Half Moon. They declared the point of land, now the southernmost tip of New York State, “Colman’s Point,” and named the river that emptied into Raritan Bay at that spot, “der Rivierten acheter Kol,” which is Dutch for “The River Named After Kolman.” A later generation of sailors mispronounced this as the Arthur Kill, but the previous name stood on maps of the New World for a hundred years, in (bungled) memoriam.

The Half Moon then traded with the Canarsie again and on Wednesday, September 9, tried to capture some of them possibly as slaves and dressed them in red uniforms; but after a while the Canarsie men escaped, quite angry. The Half Moon made its getaway, probably up the “Rivierten achter Kol,” and then eastward through the Kill Van Kull, which pointed them towards lower Manhattan, visible in the distance.

On September 11, 1609, the Half Moon anchored at the far landing of the great crossing place of the Tulpehoken (Turtle Island) Trail, where they were greeted by a great throng eager to trade. Hudson and others rowed to shore in their small boat and stepped onto Manhattan opposite Kamunipaw, which itself means “on the opposite side.” It was apparently an important spot for greeting and exchanging trading goods with foreigners. This was the site of the future World Trade Center, which fell exactly 392 years later, on the last day of the year following the end of the Seven Fire cycles. He presented the people of Turtle Island with a crossroads, a time of decision, as had been predicted so many centuries before.

Those who knew of the prophecies greeted the Half Moon voyagers royally. Although the native people of New York did not generally share their prophecies with whites, some of them relating to Hudson were revealed in the letter from Munsee descendants to Zachary Taylor in 1849. In addition, many links have been revealed over the years between the Midewiwin, holders of the Seven Fires prophecies and the Lenape, and there is reason to believe the Delaware (ie. Lenape) were leading proponents of that tradition…..[see Henry Hudson and the Algonquins, page 49-51,and also read The Tammany Legend by Joseph White Norwood published in 1938, page 118-119.]

Section II. Additional Comments on Henry Hudson and his Possible Role in the Seven Fires Prophecies (exclusively for Graham Hancock’s website discussion page)

As the timeline shows (see below) Hudson’s crew, led by the hot headed Robert Juet, entered into battle with the local Algonquins on October 1st and then again on October 2nd. These were the first known incidents of violence between Algonquin speakers and Europeans, and paved the way for the conquest that was to follow. The two-edged prophecies suggesting the arrival of either a white man of peace an friendship “bearing gifts” or a white man of war “with weapons and faces of hatred” were both fulfilled at once, by Henry Hudson and Robert Juet respectively. And yet even the timing of these seemingly accidental events tied in miraculously with the more complex aspects of the Seven Fires calendar, at least as I have reconstructed it. Similar significance can be found in the timing of the Half Moon’s arrival at Delaware Bay and what is now Ground Zero. To understand this timing, one must delve into the mathematics of visible (or line-of-sight) astronomy, such as the Algonquin people used at that time.

Solar “Moon Turtle” Calendar: All turtles have 13 large platelets in the central portion of the shell, while some have 28 small platelets around the edge called scutes. The solar calendar was marked using the 28 scutes around the outside to mark a 28 day month, and the 13 large platelets to mark 13 such months, resulting in a 364 day year. One more day was marked each year as a Day of Forgiveness (Cherokee) or Day of the Dead (Mexico), and then every four years, a leap day would have been needed, resulting in a holiday something like Sadie Hawkins’ Day. The actual solar year is 365.24219 days, so this system would hold up for quite a while.

Lunar “Moon Turtle” Calendar: The lunar month is 29.53089 nights, and the Algonquin moon turtle calendar included 13 of these in a year, counted by adding a scute each month (to the 28) and two every other month. This equals 383.89765 nights altogether. This is 18.65546 days longer than the solar calendar. This means that if you started both calendars the day you were born, you would not see the solar and lunar years end any where near together until your 98th birthday. A next big alignment would be in 392 years, halfway through the Seven Fires cycle. This means that in 784 years, the solar calendar would have 14,625.88 less days and would therefore turn 40.04433 more times, fairly close to an even number. At 783 years, the solar calendar would have seen 14.607.225 less days and would therefore turn 39.993257 more times, even closer to an even number. Oddly, these two years are the first consecutive years in the series to both feature approximate alignments. It marks the end of a great cycle and the beginning of another.

Lunar and Solar Eclipses: The keepers of the prophecies were watching both solar and lunar eclipses for signs as to what might be coming. It is astounding to me that at least nine consecutive “nodes” of this calendar system aligned closely with major solar eclipses that were at least partially visible from the original Island of Fire where the prophets first arrived. The odds of that happening by chance must be billions to one, and in fact, given that there are only two or three solar eclipses anywhere in the world each year, it seems almost unprecedented in history that such a thing happened at all, and yet it did. And what is even more remarkable is that someone knew, in advance, and as far as I can tell, was able to lay out a plan for the future based on this fact. Readers are welcome to study the timeline to see some of the incidents I found where the location of the totality of the eclipse (or in some cases within the path of totality) corresponded with the location of a major event that characterized the nature of the “era” as predicted by the prophets in 1216, according to the working model. Again, this borders on the metaphysical, but perhaps the native people’s own beliefs helped in some way to shape the events in question, for better or worse. However they cannot be held responsible for the events themselves, especially where they were the victims.

I am confident in the reconstruction of the basic calendar, as it has such an elegant and simple logic all its own, tying in with current oral traditions. The use of the new moon of September 12, 1216 as a starting point is a hypothesis that yields stunning results; I look at this choice as a way of showing the reader that the calendar could have worked as a predictor without any major shuffling around. The next part of the puzzle is, I admit, a little more on the speculative edge which is where the wonder and mystery is for me at this writing. I welcome comments, of course.

In my studies of history I have noticed that most of the events that characterize the era as prophecized by the original messengers, occur mostly in the first year of that cycle. I refer to these as “years of signs and omens.” I am speculating that the elders at that time would have watched for signs during that first year with greater attention than at other times, it only makes sense. There may have also been a “year of signs and omens” after a solar or lunar eclipse, as such would have followed the same logic. This is where it gets interesting.

On August 10th, of 1608, there was an eclipse centered over the Sargasso Sea which was also visible from Jamestown, Virginia, and recorded by John Smith. On September 11th of that year, John Smith became president of the colony and began to make ambitious changes, ones that were soon to result in disaster for both natives and colonists. On that same day, there was a rough alignment of both solar and lunar calendars, marking the end of the first half of the seven fires cycle, and the center of the “double diamond,” or fourth cycle.

One lunar year after the Jamestown eclipse, (383.89765 nights altogether) Henry Hudson’s ship the Half Moon, entered into what we call Delaware Bay. With the possible exception of Verrazzano who stood on the beach at Staten Island for a day in 1524, it was the first time a white man had entered deep into Lenape territory in known history. One solar year after the alignment [of solar and lunar calendars, the middle of the “double diamond,”] September 11th, 1609, Henry Hudson stepped onto Manhattan Island, at the place we now call Ground Zero. The following day was his birthday and the first day of the new year, according to this reckoning. Nineteen days later, violence finally broke out between the races, violence which flared up with even greater heat the following day. That violence was apparently against Hudson’s wishes, judging by his “toast” the following day back at Ground Zero, however it marked the beginning of an era of conquest and exploitation north of the Mason Dixon line that continues to this day. A slim sliver of a crescent moon, similar to the carved one attached to Hudson’s own ship, was visible in the sky that night, marking the end of the first lunar year after the great alignment at the half way point of the great cycle. It was October 1st, 1609. In other words, it was the last possible day that anyone could have considered as part of a “year of watching for signs and omens” after the great alignment. And that was stretching the point by a few hours.

According to this reckoning, the end of the Seven Fires cycle was September 11th, 2000, just before the American election which so divided the country. The most important of the “years of watching for signs and omens” began in earnest, for it would portend of what was to follow in what the prophets called “The Eighth Fire,” a possible period of time, possibly another 784 years, which could begin an era of peace and understanding, or the total destruction of all human life. On the last day of that first solar year was the attack on the Twin Towers. The end of the lunar year approximated with the build up to warfare in Afghanistan.

This essay only deals with the mathematical and numerical aspect of the Seven Fires Prophecies, not the wisdom teachings or actual predictions involved. For that information, one will have to read Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York. Readers will want to know, “who wins this battle between darkness and light that seems to emanate from downtown Manhattan and engulf the world?”

Indeed, since the book was published, this question has been underscored by the amazing incidents surrounding Goldman Sachs and the directly related threats to the economies of not only Greece, but Portugal, Spain, Holland, England, Ireland, Italy, and Belgium, to name a few. It is remarkable that Goldman Sachs’ main office in New York is built on top of the Kapsee Indian Village site, whose citizens went running gaily down well-groomed trails to greet The Great Floating Bird, which was what they called The Half Moon, on September 11th, 1609. No historian can gain access to that site except through the written permission of Goldman Sachs, accompanied by armed guards, so I’m told. Ironic that these same countries were involved in the development of a Europeanized New York; Italy brought Verrazzano, England brought Hudson, Belgium brought Minuit, Holland brought Stuyvesant; Ireland brought Boss Tweed; Portugal brought Queen Isabella and Spain brought Columbus. Who will be victorious in this battle for survival that Hudson started?

In the book, a troubled young warrior, confused by all the bloodshed, goes to a wise elder named Firefly, for good counsel. He asks who will win the battle? The invaders who will stop at nothing to conquer the innocent? Or the heroic rescue workers who give all to save the lives of others?

The elder answers, “The one YOU let get to you!”

In other words, it’s all about you, it’s your spiritual test. This world is your classroom. Make the most of it. You can tip the outcome either way.

When I wrote those words one year ago in the summer of 2009, I had no idea of what Goldman Sachs was up to, but now that the news is out, it fits perfectly. They too are part of a divine plan, “doing God’s work,” setting up the school where we get to learn. It is up to us what we do in response. Do we join in, like so many Machiavellis, or do we speak out, as the Wappingers here did on October 1st of 1609, in protest of Robert Juet’s deeds, on the eve of a new era?

We too may be on the cusp of a new era. Let’s tip the balance in the direction of fairness and justice, of love and tolerance. Let us face these challenges without fear and manipulation, without lies and stealth, which the Lenape call Loo-way-woo-dee, the black box derivatives of a heart that has lost its way in the storm.

Appendix III (from Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York by Evan Pritchard; published by Council Oaks Books, 2009)

Timeline of the Seven Fires: Moon Turtles, Eclipses and Signs

There is no word for time in Algonquin culture, and no birthdays were recognized in traditional times. However it seems that those who followed the prophecies kept careful track of the days, months and years. There are many numbers here, but the turtle calendar is not a clock nor a mechanical system. It requires much moon-gazing and periodic adjustment to keep it on target. While some Algonquin people say the year begins in Spring, and others when the rivers first freeze in late fall, it seems that this particular calendar system may have begun the new moon of September 12, 1216, showing possible Taino influence, or perhaps a common influence not of this realm. Although the new moon at winter solstice of 1215 might seem to be a more logical starting point, its “new years” do not correspond nearly as well with eclipses and historical events related to Native Americans. So while the actual starting date of the prophecies remains secret, we will use Hudson’s birthday, September 12, as the reference date for this book.

1205 Cahokia Eclipse, September 14
1209 East Maine Cree eclipse, July 13
1216 Beginning of First Fire, new moon September 12, according to author’s reconstruction. Lunar and solar calendars are set into motion, using “moon turtles” (see chart) as calculators. 13-month lunar calendar is approximately 18.655 days longer than solar, so first solar year ends September 11, 1217; while first lunar year ends October 1, 1217. This is the First Year of signs and omens (keegaynolaywoagun).
1272 Midpoint of First Fire, September. 56th year of Seven Fires Cycle completed.
September 1272–September 1273: Year of signs and omens.
1314 Sun and moon calendars end closely together, about 2 days apart.
1328 Beginning of Second Fire; 112 years completed, September.
September 1327–September 1328: Year of signs and omens.
1384 Midpoint of Second Fire, September
September 1383–September 1384: Year of signs and omens.
1440 Beginning of Third Fire, September
September 1439–September 1440: Year of signs and omens.
1451 Cornplanter’s Eclipse (Cornplanter told that his predecessor Chief Sagonyuthna made peace among the Iroquois after the eclipse of January 28, 1451. Joseph White Norwood (p. 77) suggests this was also when Tamanend II of the Lenape [Unami] became grand peace chief.)
1491 Jacques Cartier born.
1492 Columbus’ first voyage.
1496 John Cabot’s eclipse (Atlanta, Ga.) August 8
1496 Midpoint of Third Fire, September 11
September 1496 to September 1497: Year of signs and omens
1497 John Cabot arrives at Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, June 24, 1497 (10 moons, 25 scute after eclipse). August 10 (one solar year after eclipse) Cabot reports to Henry VII about New World.
Third voyage of Columbus.
1534-1542 Cartier in Canada, prepares Samuel de Champlain.
1543 Copernicus publishes work, begins scientific revolution in Europe.
1552 Beginning of Fourth Fire, September.
September 1551–September 1552: Year of signs and omens.
1553 Saskatchewan eclipse, July 10
1569 Henry Hudson born, September 12
1608 John Smith’s eclipse, Sargasso Sea, August 10
Close alignment of sun and moon calendars, September 8 / 11.
Completion of 392nd year, September 11.

First half of Seven Fires cycle complete.
1608 John Smith elected Council President of Jamestown, begins expanding English fort.
Samuel de Champlain in Quebec
September 12, 1608–September 11, 1609: Year of signs and omens; first solar year of second half of Seven Fires cycle.
1609 Hudson lands at Manhattan, September 11.
Hudson celebrates 40th birthday near location of today’s Times Square, September 12.
Half Moon attacks protesters at Indian Point, October 1.
Larger battle with canons at Nipnischsen (Yonkers) on October 2nd.
Hudson’s “toast” and farewell to Manhattan, October 3.
1663 Final Esopus Wars
1664 Beginning of Fifth Fire, September
September 1663–September 1664: Year of signs and omens.
James Bay Eclipse, September 1
British invade New Netherlands, negate all Native American treaties, New Amsterdam becomes New York, September.
1717 Pontiac’s eclipse, October 4
1720 Midpoint of Fifth Fire, September.
Pontiac born in Long House at Fort Detroit
September 1719–September 1720: Year of signs and omens.
1769 Pontiac killed in Cahokia, by a Peoria/Kaskaskian along the Maumee River, April 2
Circa 1770 Tecumseh born.
1776 Thomas Paine’s Common Sense published, January 9
Declaration of Independence, July 3- 4
Adams, Franklin, refute Howe’s terms of surrender at Tottenville, (near John Colman’s/Rarian’s burial site) commit to Revolution on last day of Fifth Fire, September 11.
Beginning of Sixth Fire, September 12
George Washington crosses the Kitchi Sipi (Delaware River) at Sunqheague (Falls of the Delaware) December 25.
September 1775-September 1776: Solar year of signs and omens.
1777 Battle of Princeton, January 3.
Princeton eclipse, January 9
First year of Sixth Fire solar year of signs and omens completed September 11.
Battle of Saratoga, first major victory for US , one lunar year + one week after the beginning of the Sixth Fire.
US Articles of Confederation adopted, November 15, with input from Charles Thompson, honorary Delaware.
1778 Battle of Brandywine, many ”Brandywine” Unami Delaware are killed or displaced, American flag flown in battle for the first time, Washington defeated on Sept.11, 1778, must move nation’s capital from Philadelphia (Shackamaxon) to Lancaster (Okehocking).
Chief George White Eyes of Delaware assassinated, November.
1832 Midpoint of Sixth Fire, September
September 1832-September 1833: Solar year of signs and omens.
Peace/surrender treaty of Sac and Fox (relatives of Mohican) to end Black Hawk’s Wars was signed September 21, nine days after midpoint of Sixth Fire.
1834 “Trail of Tears” Eclipse (Chattanooga/Memphis) November 30
Running River Treaty near Chattanooga, Nov. 27–30
1835 One lunar year after eclipse, (one day early) NY Stock Exchange burns, “The Great Fire.” December 16.
One lunar year (plus 12 days) after eclipse, Trail of Tears Treaty signed at New Echota, December 29, 1835.
1888 Beginning of Seventh Fire, September 12
September 1887-September 1888: Solar year of signs and omens.
1889 Wovoka’s Eclipse, Pyramid Lake, Nevada, January 1
1890 Wounded Knee massacre of the Mineconjou, one solar year after eclipse, December 29
1906 Mahatma Gandhi coins term “Satyagraha” to refer to Civil Disobedience techniques Thoreau learned from Penobscots, September 11.
1944 Midpoint of Seventh Fire, September.
September 12, 1944–September 11, 1945: Year of signs and omens.
1945 Last Long House “to prevent end of the world,” ceremony, spring
Hitler dies April 30.
Long House Eclipse, July 9
Hiroshima destroyed, August 6.
Japanese prison camps on Borneo liberated, September 11, last day of solar year of signs and omens after midpoint.
1991 Fifth Sun begins for Maya, July 11. “UFO ” Eclipse over Mexico City
1998 Al Gore unveils White House Global Warming Initiative, August 10.
1999 Solar and lunar calendars coincide September 11/September 12, within a day of each other, for first time since 1315. 783rd year completed.
2000 End of Seventh fire
. End of 784th year of Seven Fires Prophecy cycle, September 11-12. (New Moon) Rough alignment of sun and moon calendars.
September 2000–September 2001: Year of signs and omens.
Lunz memo on how to dismiss global warming in campaign. “A Report of The Project for the New American Century, dated September 2000.”
Disputed US presidential election, November 8
2001 World Trade Center falls, marking end of the first solar year of signs and omens after the Seven Fires cycle, September 11, 2001. Sixteen years until eclipse of 2017; 23 until eclipse of 2024. “Will we light the Eighth fire?”

Appendix IV (From Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York; published by Council Oak Books, 2009) The Best Kept Secret

Although the reader may not believe it possible for anyone to foretell the future, nonetheless, prophecies play a large part in human history, especially Native American history. Native American prophecies (unlike those of the Old Testament) tend to be interactive rather than fatalistic, an attempt to guide the decisions of the people along more productive lines. The Seven Fires prophecies were handed down from generation to generation in secrecy by the Medicine Chiefs of the Midewiwin Societies and by the leaders of other related lineages. For this reason, there was almost nothing published about them until recently.

The Munsee letter to Zachary Taylor, which states that the Munsees knew when Hudson was coming, was written in 1849 and sent to the White House, but not published until 2002 when I included it in my book Native New Yorkers. Joseph White Norwood referred indirectly to the Seven Fires prophecies in his book The Tammany Legend, published in 1938. In the late 1960s, knowledge of these prophecies started to spread by word of mouth. Key words were “rainbow race,” “earth changes,” and “purification.” When I recently asked a Canadian audience of adult aged Metis or mixed-blood Native Americans if they had heard about the Seven Fires prophecies while growing up, every person without exception decisively raised his or her hand. This surprised even me, since so little has been written about them.

William Commanda, already Supreme Chief of the North American Indian Nation Government since 1945, received the Seven Fires wampum belt in the 1960s and began to talk openly about the prophecies, but the mass media was not very interested. He taught that the reckless cutting of trees was going to lead to a global disaster of monumental proportions. People scoffed. In 1973, an up-and-coming Francophone journalist, Michel Merleau, now remembered for his groundbreaking pieces in Le Droit, interviewed William Commanda for a local publication in Quebec. It was one of the first publications of any kind to report on the Seven Fires prophecies wampum belt or to mention what we now know of as “global warming.” It is surprisingly similar in language to scientist James Lovelock’s book Revenge of Gaia, which was considered shocking in 2006, thirty-three years later. Here is an excerpt from Merleau’s article:

Chief Commanda is the oldest member of the lodge of the wampum belt. This belt has been a legacy from generation to generation, and Chief Commanda has learned to listen to the wampum belt, which is the medium between him and his ancestors.

“While we’re in the process of doing those ceremonies, the belt is giving warnings of our ancestors and of nature,” says Chief Commanda, for whom nature is the mother of everyone, adding that we shall not try to dominate her or abuse her but that we shall live in harmony with her.

“It is nature herself who leads the world. She is feeding her children and providing for them from her breast and is also giving reprimands to her children when they are abusing her.”

The moon is also of great importance in the eyes of William Commanda. “The moon is our grandmother and even if some people refuse to recognize the influence she has on the earth, she has, for example, sway over the plants, the fish, and the fertility cycle of the human being.”

The wampum had also given messages to William, “When the white people will have destroyed everything, and when the Indians will not be able to find signs of Nature like the bark of the birch, the skin of the deer or the moose to display in their houses, sixty percent of the Indian race will have been destroyed and it will be the same for a greater part of the white people.”

The epidemics which the inhabitants of the globe are already acquainted with, may be in a great part the reprisal of Mother Nature who is fighting against the abuse of her children. The chief gave the example of a tree blight which may be a way for the mother to tell her children to stop the irrational cutting of trees. (Excerpted from a published interview, “Pourquoi aurais-je besoin d’un permis?” [“Why Do I Need a Permit?”] by Michel Merleau, well-known Quebec-based journalist, 1973. )

Three years later, in 1976, Eddie Benton Banaise published his landmark Mishomis Book, describing the predictions concerning each of the seven fires, but giving no details about the exact lengths of the time cycles involved. In fact, although he agrees that the length of a fire might be “somewhere around 112 years” he reminds us that it is not an exact number. I have since come to understand that the sun and moon cycles dance together to an irregular rhythm as judged by European calendars. The truth is much more interesting. That book is still in print, considered a classic text by Native Americans of all tribal affiliations.

When mixed-blood Chippewa Vernon LaDuke (“Sun Bear”) self-published his book Black Dawn, Bright Day, in 1990, he decided not to mention the Seven Fires prophecies by name, but it is certain that he knew of them and was referring to them in part when he wrote of the bizarre and chaotic irregularities in weather patterns that were beginning to appear all over the globe. The book was a grim warning, but even after it was picked up by Simon and Schuster in 1992, few listened. Al Gore’s book, Earth In the Balance, Ecology and the Human Spirit, published that same year, brought news of these climate changes to the attention of the mainstream. The Cry of the Earth conference at the United Nations, where many predictions about climate change were shared for the first time, occurred later that year. Nonetheless, global warming has been slow to be accepted in the United States. This important aspect of the Seven Fires prophecies has finally been revealed. Perhaps there is still time.

Books by Evan Pritchard

Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York

Henry Hudson and the Algonquins of New York

US - UK - CA

Native New Yorkers

Native New Yorkers

US - UK - CA

Native American Stories of the Sacred

Native American Stories of the Sacred

US - UK - CA

No Word For Time

No Word For Time

US - UK - CA