The Seventh Fire: A Decolonizing Experience
On Saturday, October 9, the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center on the Northern Michigan University campus will open the installation, “The Seventh Fire: A Decolonizing Experience.” Experience this multi-media at the Center’s gallery in Gries Hall located on Seventh St. in Marquette, Michigan. The “Seventh Fire: A Decolonizing Experience” is funded in part by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment of the Humanities. The installation will open at 12 p.m. with a public reception featuring hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments. This reception and the exhibit are free to the public and will be on display through April 9. The Beaumier Center’s hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The title, “The Seventh Fire,” comes from the Seven Fires Prophecies which were given to the Anishinaabe people over 1,500 years ago while they still lived in what are now the Maritime Provinces of Canada. These prophecies foretold the catastrophic events that would befall their people over the next several centuries, predicting the arrival of Europeans and the impacts this would have on their way-of-life and spirituality. These events also include their migration to the Upper Great Lakes, the loss of their ancestral lands, and even the boarding schools their children would be sent to in the 19th and 20th centuries. The last of these prophecies, The Seventh Fire, promises that there will be a rebirth of the Anishinaabe nation and a rekindling of the Sacred Flame (their spirituality and traditions). Today, this rebirth and rekindling is referred to as Decolonization. The “Seventh Fire” exhibit seeks to define and place decolonizing in the context of contemporary Anishinaabe life while inviting audiences to expand their knowledge of the gifts decolonizing brings to modern society today.
Sharing video recorded interviews with tribal elders, Anishinaabe historians and scholars, students and faculty, the “Seventh Fire” installation will show the many different perspectives on decolonization and Anishinaabe culture, including language, foodways, education, sovereignty and the challenges of living in a colonized world. In addition, there will be a timeline of the history of the Anishinaabe people and a gathering “fire” space, where visitors can sit and discuss the issues brought up by the installation.
“The Seventh Fire” was developed over several months by a dedicated committee of individuals” they include Reese Carter and Bazile Panek from the NMU Native American Student Association; Leora Lancaster, Amber Morseau April Lindala, Martin Reinhardt from the NMU Center for Native American Studies; Debra Nedeau and Kathy Vanden Boogaard from the Great Lakes Peace Center; Lydia Bucklin from the Episcopal Parish of Northern Michigan, and Emily Pfeiff and Daniel Truckey from NMU’s Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center.
A traveling version of “The Seventh Fire” exhibition will be available to organizations across the Upper Peninsula beginning in the Spring of 2022. For more information on “The Seventh Fire,” please contact the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center at 906-227-3212 or email email@example.com. You can also visit the Center’s website at www.nmu.edu/beaumier.