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Join us Wednesday, December 20, 2006,
8:30 PM EST, (+5 GMT)
for an interview with Grandfather William Commanda
Algonquin High Elder, and carrier of the 7 Fires Prophecy Belt
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The All One Now Network is greatly honored to offer a live webcast with
Grandfather William Commanda,
Wednesday, December 20, 2006, at 8:30 PM EST. (5:30 PST), (+ 5GMT).
Grandfather Commanda, is one of the most respected Spiritual Elders of Native American Peoples. Born in 1913, he has faced the persecution of his peoples from his earliest days as the son of his tribal chief, to the building of a "Circle of All Nations," seeking true world peace, and a human community which honors and respects all peoples.
He is keeper of the sacred Seven Fires Prophecy belt, a pre-Columbian artifact holding the stories of his peoples prophetic visions of the times yet to come, those times which are unfolding in our age.
It is his wisdom, strength, and courage, which brings him to his own people, to the United Nations, and to peoples worldwide, to address the real need for love, compassion and understanding between all peoples, to allow us to enter the next eon of human existence.
Join us for this remarkable man's teachings.
For the live broadcast, click here & login.
Information on the Life and Work of Grandfather William Commanda:
Biographical & vision information borrowed from A Circle of All Nations, with permission.
The Courage to Care * The Sacred Wampun Belts *
Chronology of Key Activities of Grandfather Commanda
OJIGKWANONG – MORNING STAR *
The Circle of All Nations * Logo * Vision
web link to the Circle of All Nations
to Care –
He was born under the Morning Star on the eleventh of November in 1913, on the eve of the First World War and on a day we commemorate as a Day of Remembrance. His mother named him Ojigkwanong after the star that signifies illumination from darkness. He was born into the Squirrel clan, and like the Squirrel, was destined to walk the hills and valleys, the ups and downs of his life, head first, never retreating. He is the Keeper of the sacred Seven Fires Prophecy Wampum Belt in the time that the Prophecy is unfolding.
William Commanda, the eighty seven year old Traditional Algonquin Elder is a great grandson of Pagnawatik, the hereditary chief who led his people from the Lake of Two Mountains area to establish a new home base away from persecution and control in their traditional hunting and trapping grounds at Kitigan Zibi. William was also the child who suffered the ravages of imported diseases like smallpox, and who faced near starvation as “authorities” confiscated the moose his father hunted. He is also North American Indian and chief who witnessed the oppression and near destruction of his land and peoples, language and culture at almost every turn throughout his life, yet maintained his identity as Mamiwinini, nomad.
But in 1961, diagnosed with terminal cancer, and at most painful low point of his life, he experienced a profound spiritual awakening, an awakening that placed him firmly on the Red Road of forgiveness, love, compassion and reconciliation. He saw an urgency in the need to bring together people of the four symbolic races of humankind, to evolve relationships based on these values, and to create a synergy to contribute to the spiritual transformation of a world seen by many as morally and spiritually bankrupt.
The nomad promoted his vision nationally and internationally. People across the world have been touched by his extensive work and outreach to promote racial harmony, cross cultural understanding, advance spiritual development and raise awareness of environmental issues and the abuse of Mother Earth.
The most special of his activities is the annual spiritual gathering that he hosts at his home. As he put it once, he covers most of the costs with his “old age cheques”. Almost a thousand people from Canada and the United States, as well as from such distant locations as Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Holland, and France attend. The participation of people from Spain during the 1999 gathering was particularly meaningful for the Elder, signifying the commencement of a process of reconciliation with the descendants of Columbus.
But he does much more. The vision of “A Circle of All Nations” is integral to the work and outreach of Elder Commanda, and is reflected in his untiring work with the United Nations and the world’s Indigenous Peoples; with the Sunbow Foundation and the 1995 seven and a half month “Walk For Mother Earth” (from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans) that he presided over; his teaching of Algonquin arts and crafts, including birch bark canoe making, both nationally and internationally; his linkage of indigenous Elders and peoples in his outreach through “Elders Without Borders”; and his unflagging willingness to make presentations and offer prayers and greetings at both humble and high profile national and international events to bring his message of love and unity to all.
He has been widely acknowledged and honoured for his “courage to care” by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples, and is the recipient of both the Wolf and the Harmony Awards for his efforts to create a “Circle of All Nations”.
Seven Fires Prophecy describes the evolution of life for Aboriginal
peoples in North America since the arrival of the earliest settlers,
and identifies the present times as being the time of the Seventh Fire.
At this time, Elder Commanda tells us, the voice of indigenous peoples
rises again after five hundred years of silence and oppression, to
light a path that could lead to an eternal fire of peace, love,
brotherhood and sisterhood amongst all nations.
The Sacred Wampum Belts
The Sacred Wampum Belts
In 1970, Elder William Commanda became Keeper of three sacred wampum belts of historical and spiritual importance. These belts, together with another one which disappeared many decades ago, were held by his great great grandfather, Pakinawatik, and they carry testimony of significant prophecies, agreements and understandings which have guided the Anicinabe peoples for centuries. They have inspired the Elder¹s work over the past thirty years. In 1987, he began sharing the messages of the Wampum Belts publicly during the constitutional debates, and he has continued to do so since. Elder Commanda notes that the three belts he carries are living belts, since they are not housed in museums, and of late he has shared their messages with increasing urgency. This is consistent with the prophecy that speaks of the return of the voice of indigenous peoples.
The core messages of the three Wampum Belts is shared here. Additional information will eventually be included in the Wisdom Page.
The Seven Fires Prophecy Belt
Elder Commanda is believed to be the keeper of this ancient sacred belt dating back to the late 1400s at the time of the unfolding of its final message the message of CHOICE about our relationships with each other and with all creations of Mother Earth. Will we be guided by values of sharing, balance and harmonious co-existence?
The 1700's Belt
In this three figure belt about equitable SHARING, William Commanda¹s ancestors inscribed their understanding about sharing the resources of their native land and their values and ideology with the newcomers, the French and the English, in the spirit of a confederacy, in sacred wampum shell. The inherent value of sharing remains the elusive quest of our times.
The Jay Treaty Border Crossing Belt
This belt underscores the fundamental spiritual message of indigenous peoples about BORDERLESSNESS: the Elder¹s people, the Mamuwinini, the nomads, belong to North America, and as such they retain a sacred connection and responsibility to the land they are born to. As Elder Commanda puts it, "My territory is as the river flows, as the bird flies and as the wind blows."
Chronology of Key Activities of William Commanda
1945 Involvement with the North American Indian Nation Government
1951-70 Algonquin Chief, River Desert Band
1970 Appointed Keeper of three Algonquin Wampum Belts: the Seven Fires Prophesy, the Jay Treaty and the 1701 Agreement Belts
1981 Demonstrated building of a birch bark canoe for Queen Marguerita of Denmark; promoted understanding of the history, culture and plight of North American Indians in Denmark
1987 Commenced public teachings on the messages of the Wampum Belts at the fourth First Ministers Conference on Inherent Right and Self Government for Aboriginal Peoples, chaired by Prime Minister Mulroney
1990 Participated in the blessing of the Human Rights Monument in Ottawa with the Dalai Lama
1991 Conducted Pipe Ceremonies at a 3 day United Nations Conference hosted by President Mitterand of France
1993 Delivered Prophesy messages, together with 27 Indigenous spiritual leaders, to 350 United Nations delegates at United Nations Cry of the Earth Conference
1995 Spiritual leader for the Sunbow 5 Foundation Prayer Walk, which brought together representatives of the five symbolic races of man (red, white, yellow, black and brown) whose concern for the healing of the Earth surpassed racial or religious divisions - a seven and a half month unity “Walk for Mother Earth”, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.
1996-97 Outreach and linkages with traditional spiritual leaders from Central, South and North America
1997 Made presentation on the Seven Fires Prophesy and Aboriginal beliefs and issues at the Funai Conference in Japan
1998 Organized Elders without Borders - a gathering of Indigenous Elders and Spiritual Leaders of the Americas and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples around Ottawa, Ontario
1998 Recipient of the Wolf Project Award for promoting racial understanding
2000 Organized Circle of All Nations Millennium International Peace Gathering Recipient of the Harmony Award for promoting intercultural understanding and harmony UN Peace Summit New York Honoured in opening of The Canadian Canoe Museum
2001 Peace Pipe Ceremony and presentation at the International Fields of Conflict – Fields of Wisdom Constellation Congress in Germany; Participated in peace building efforts and conferences in South Africa during the World Conference Against Racism Launch of Legacy Display at Canadian Canoe Museum
2002 Indigenous Elder’s Gathering in New Mexico; Justice Award – University of Ottawa
2003 Peace Building Conference at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Bahamas
Annual Spiritual gatherings of all nations (international) at the home of Elder Commanda during the August 1st Weekend Misc. Innumerable presentations, addresses and spiritual and pipe ceremonies at international conferences and events (e.g. Switzerland, France, Germany, Denmark, United States, Mexico, Japan; with the United Nations; World Council of Churches, etc. Innumerable opening and closing prayers and presentations and guidance at conferences, pow wows, workshops and meetings promoting better cross cultural communications and linkages, interracial harmony based on principles of love, respect, reconciliation and compassion. Referenced in numerous books and articles on Aboriginal and/or Algonquin peoples Central to all Elder Commanda’s teachings is the concept of equality and harmony and respect for Mother Earth, for all life forms, and for people of all racial and cultural backgrounds. His spiritual beliefs are inextricably linked to concern and responsibility for the plight of Mother Earth, the abuse and desecration of her body and resources, and to alerting the world’s peoples of the urgent need to rebalance our priorities, needs, values and responsibilities - in his teachings, the salvation of the people is totally interconnected with the salvation of Mother Earth. He stresses that the Wampum Belts teach that it is essential for us to learn to work through our differences and come together in love, peace, reconciliation and unity.
OJIGKWANONG – MORNING STAR – BORN ON 11 NOVEMBER 1913 INTO THE SQUIRELL CLAN
William Commanda was born at 8.30 am on a clear winter morning. It was an unusual morning, because the Morning Star remained shining brightly on the south side, as the Sun arose. The morning train was heading into Ottawa from Maniwaki, and it tooted its horn from the by pass in the town well into Bitobi Road, past the house built by Chief Louizon Commanda,, the infant’s paternal grandfather; this house guarded the cross road into the reserve established by another legendary ancestor, Pakinawatik. The train heralded the arrival of the second child, the first son, of Alonzo and Marie Louise Commanda.
Because the star shone so brightly, Marie Louise Cayer Commanda decided immediately to call her son Ojigkwanong. We know him variously as William Commanda, Elder, Chief, Tada, Grandfather, and Mishomis.
Some cultures say that our names carry messages about our destinies. In the book “Of Water and the Spirit - Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman”, West African writer and shaman Malidoma Patrice Some writes about the significance of a person’s name in identifying one’s purpose in life. He writes of his people, “Because the Dagara believe that each person comes into this world with a special destiny, some names are programatic. They describe the task of their bearers and constitute a constant reminder to the child of the responsibilities that are waiting ahead. A person’s life project is therefore inscribed in the name he/she carries.”
Some see the Morning Star as the offspring of the Moon and the Sun. It is a symbol of the East, bridging the Night and the Day, bringing light out of darkness. The East is seen by many as the source of knowledge. That is important. The Morning Star brings illumination, and it is that spark that gives knowledge vitality and creativity and imbues it with the potential to transform. The Morning Star also signifies beginnings, rebirth and renewal, and carries visions of possibilities and potential.
The Morning Star as a symbol of enlightenment and vision brings light into a world of darkness. Many have been touched by William Commanda’s commitment to honour his namesake, by tirelessly holding out a beacon of light and love in a world besieged by fear and darkness.
In the context of indigenous knowledge, William Commanda was born in the Frost time, at the time when the harvesting is over, when the fruits of the season of fertility are collected to sustain life through the deep sleep of winter, when Mother Earth enters the dreamtime that links the past and the present and the future, when she weaves the potential of the future from the deeds and the visions of the ancestors. It was a portentous time that also guided the Elder’s destiny.
William Commanda was born into the Squirrel Clan, and without a doubt, he is a penultimate seed planter, inspiring growth and transformation everywhere he walks. And like the squirrel, he embraces the world head first, always looking ahead as he walks up and down life’s pathways, never retreating, moving to the beat of Johnny Cash’s song, “I won’t back down”! And, yet, he will remind us with a twinkle in his eye, “There’s no meanness about us; you will find us a very tender clan!”
He was born on the eve of the First World War, on what has come to be known as Remembrance Day. A pivotal moment in world history, it seems he was born to remember the dark past, near genocide and suffering of his people and yet forge a path of light, peace and unity into the turbulent twenty first century with his vision of a Circle of All Nations.
He celebrates his eighty ninth birthday as the world sits on the brink of the third world war, and he still continues tirelessly to share his message of peace and love and forgiveness with the world. His fearlessness, perseverance, and capacity for love make him an indomitable warrior.
This web page represents an effort to share his wisdom and thoughts with his friends around the world.
The Circle of All Nations Logo
This special logo, executed by Aboriginal artist Claude Latour in collaboration with William Commanda and Romola, incorporates many symbols of special significance to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples and to William Commanda himself.
The four colours of the Sacred Circle, at the simplest level, represent the four symbolic races of man, the yellow, black, red and white peoples; the four cardinal directions, East, South, West and North; and the four elements, Fire, Earth, Water and Air. The symbolism and teaching of the Sacred Circle are complex and deep.
The Turtle, here representing Turtle Island, North America, is described similarly in the mythology and legends of Aboriginal peoples of the West, the Hindus of the East, and the Zulus of the South, amongst others, as being the animal who sacrificed its life to create Earth in the expanse of Sea and Sky; it endures as a symbol of sacrifice, creativity and fertility. The Western story of the Tortoise and the Hare stresses the importance of perseverance in following one’s dreams and achieving one’s goals.
The Sacred Tree is a Spruce Tree photographed by William Commanda. Four separate trunks emerge from the one base of this 75 foot tree. The seven roots of this tree, which reaches into the Sky, grow through the Turtle into Mother Earth and the Sea, connecting all. It represents the Seven Fires Prophecy, and the Sacred Wampum Belt William Commanda has carried for the People for almost thirty years. (The Eastern Tree fell on 1 July 2001, underlining for us the urgency of the Prophecy.)
The other trees remind us of the importance of the trees to Mother Earth and to our lives. Now, as he watches with pain the endless passage of logging trucks through his family’s traditional lands, William Commanda says “It feels like a needle piercing my eye”.
The Mountains represent The Lake of Two Mountains, the traditional homeland of William Commanda’s ancestors. They also represent the climb up the Sacred Mountain in the search for wisdom.
Morning Star is the symbol of enlightenment and vision, and because it
shone so brightly when he was born, his mother named William Commanda
The Vision of Elder William Commanda to Create
"A CIRCLE OF ALL NATIONS: A CULTURE OF PEACE"
This difficult age we live in was foreseen by spiritual visionaries across the world. My ancestors warned us about the years of struggle that would lead us to a crossroad and to the choices we would be called upon to make at the turn of the century. This vision was inscribed in the sacred Seven Fires Prophecy Wampum Shell Belt in the late 1400s.
The Seven Fires Prophecy holds a vision for a future where we:
The steps to this future are few:
This path will lead us to love, sharing, respect, responsibility, compassion, healing, justice and reconciliation.
It is of crucial importance that the people of the world:
We shall then light the Eighth Fire together and we will become:
Biographical & vision information borrowed from A Circle of All Nations, with permission.
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