My name is Tim Yearington. I am a KitchiZibi Indigenous Knowledge keeper. In Algonquin the old word KitchiZibi means, "Great River."
KitchiZibi is my ancestral home territory between Ottawa and Mattawa. Today the KitchiZibi is known as the Ottawa River Valley. This valley is where our traditional KitchiZibi Way of Life began from just four things; the Sun (fire), the Rock (earth), the River (water) and the Sky (air). As the four elements mixed together the Spirit of Life (green) was created.
Old KitchiZibi knowledge helps people to recognize, embrace and utilize the Great Spirit that exists within all things. On our Medicine Wheel fire is symbolized by the colour yellow. Yellow is East. East is the beginning; our starting point. East is the direction where the Great Sacred Fire of Grandfather Sun rises every day. So, we work with the wisdom of this and we "Fix the Fire First." We fix the firey world of human emotion.
In our traditional way of helping people become better and stronger, we are taught it's important to start at the beginning. We are taught to fix the fire first; we first try to help people rekindle their own inner fire so they will be able to use it to look into the depth of their own humanity. Here's a short creation story, a teaching, about how the Human World came into being. Keep in mind this story is just a way to help us SEE:
Our ancestors believed long, long ago that originally only three worlds were created. At that time there were no human beings, no people.
The first to be created was the Mineral World. That was really rocky work. Second to be created was the Plant World. Much patience was needed as new life needed time to grow. Third to be created was the Animal World. Things then got rather challenging here on Mother Earth because it took millennia for the animals to get along with each other.
But eventually, all the animals learned to speak the same language and all three worlds began working together beautifully. But as time went by the Creator of these first Three Worlds became bored and impatient.
The Creator still wished to create more! So the last world, the Fourth, came into being. This world, weakest of them all, became the Human World. It was weak because the human beings weren't too strong. For in order for the Human World to survive, the humans had to learn to rely on the original Three Worlds. But the Humans weren’t very good at it and they suffered a lot. As time went by, their inner fire grew weaker and weaker. First they grew emotionally depressed which caused them to be physically sick. Then they stopped believing in themselves. When this happened they started thinking very poorly about who they were.
One day a bird called Eagle saw how difficult life on Mother Earth was for the Humans. Eagle flew high into the sky and talked to the Creator about it. In listening to Eagle’s loving advice, the Creator chose to give them some strong medicine. In realizing the Humans had been created weakest, the Creator felt bad and so gave the Humans the greatest gift of all time – the ability to dream. Now, just like the Creator, the Humans would be able to dream too! Now they too could envision whatever they wished to think about and create and make of their lives here on earth.
All the Humans began using their new gift and they named themselves the People. Some of the People became helpers, teachers, shamans and healers. These people became known as Medicine People because they understood the Great Spirit of Life existed for all Four Worlds and they knew the Good Medicine of Fire itself. Akin to the Sun of the Creator, the sacred, energetic, creative medicine of fire existed within all things and beings - including all the People within the good Human World too.
The Medicine People saw they could help others by rekindling their fire. By helping People fix their own sacred fire - that human world of inner emotions - the People could make and maintain their own well-being. In this way the People grew conscious of the need for the unity of all Four Worlds. And they came to know the real meaning of good medicine.
So, we make the fire first. We are the ones to find our own tinder and gather our own kindling. We are the ones who decide to use softwood or hardwood. A good strong fire burns best with both. When our fire burns brightly we soon see we're the makers of our own Four Worlds.