The Seven Fires Prophecy of the Anishinaabe people is a vast overview of the future for the people who live in North America. Seven predictions describe seven epochs and turning points where history will be changed. Since the prophecy encompasses actual beliefs of the Anishinaabe people and is deeply incorporated into their culture and values, the relationship between these indigenous people and the federal government can be regarded from the perspective of the Seven Fires. Most importantly, the concept of reconciliation can be examined in this context. The colonists were predicted to become a threat to the Anishinaabe people, as it said in the prophecy that “[the Light Skinned race’s] hearts may be filled with greed for the riches of this land” and it was advised to “not accept them in total trust” (Pyne, 2013, p. 288). However, it is also predicted that, if the White people choose the right road, “an eternal Fire of peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood [will be lit]” (Pyne, 2013, p. 289). This gives the indigenous people hope for reconciliation; therefore, the Seven Fires Prophecy is an important indication in the context of reconciliation because it recognizes that peace and cooperation are possible.
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Three Dimensions of Reconciliation
The three dimensions of reconciliation are epistemological, intercultural, and environmental. The first one deals with different aspects of knowledge and approaches to defining, gaining, and sharing it. This includes the concepts of social justice, key definitions, interpretations, and performance evaluation. The intercultural dimension encompasses political and economic relationships and interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships. This dimension deals with the boundaries between individual and collective matters. The environmental dimension is about approaching natural resources and generally treating the nature. This includes ecological understanding, restorative approaches to land, water, animals and plants. In all three dimensions, a major challenge for reconciliation is the argument that there are no relationships to reconcile (Crocker, 2003) because they have never been good, which is why some may propose to use another word instead of “reconciliation.”
Three Levels of Truth and Reconciliation
Pyne and Taylor (2015) use the concept of transitional justice and regard reconciliation from this perspective, as reconciliation and truth are among the goals of transitional justice as defined by Crocker (2003). Three proposed meanings of reconciliation are simple coexistence, liberal social solidarity, and democratic reciprocity. The first one implies peaceful cooperation or, at least, a situation where former enemies have an agreement to follow common rules instead of committing violence against one another. Liberal social solidarity is a more cooperative mode of coexisting implying interactions and uniting around common goals, while democratic reciprocity means, in addition, being involved in governance and decision-making.
The issue selected for identifying and exploring is colonialism. In terms of the Seven Fires Prophecy, colonialism is a challenge for the people of North America; if wrong choices are made by colonists, the humanity will perish, but a right choice will allow everyone to live in peace. There are different dimensions of colonialism, including philosophical, rational, and self-interest-related (Withers, 2008). From the perspective of cartography, alternative maps, as opposed to dominating ones, are tools of resisting territorial claims (Pickles, 2004). Finally, the issue of colonialism is particularly relevant to reconciliation because colonialists bring violence and oppression, which is why decolonization is a prerequisite for reconciliation but is not a sufficient condition because, as noted by Crocker (2003), regarding reconciliation as a mere cessation of violence is a limited perspective because there are other dimensions of it.
Crocker, D. A. (2003). Reckoning with past wrongs: A normative framework. In C. A. L. Prager & T. Govier (Eds.), Dilemmas of reconciliation: Cases and concepts (pp. 39-63). Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
Pickles, J. (2004). A history of spaces: Cartographic reason, mapping, and the geo-coded world. Hove, UK: Psychology Press.
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Pyne, S., & Taylor, D. R. F. (2015). Cybercartography, transitional justice and the residential schools legacy. Geomatica, 69(1), 173-187.
Withers, R. (2008). Descartes’ Dreams. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 53(1), 691-709.