The Prophecy of the Serpents
Sitting around the embers of a dying camp fire, Kanenhariyo tells the story of the prophecy of the serpents. This prophecy is common to the Hopi, the Haudenosaunee, and a number of other indigenous communities. It tells of a time of catastrophe and crisis, when the people must head for the high ground and prepare for what is to come.
Transcript of the Episode
The Prophecy of the Serpents – Episode 27 of the WGO Podcast
By Kanenhariyo Seth LeFort
Did you ever hear the prophecies about the serpent’s tails? In that story, they say that this white serpent is going to cross the ocean, it’s going to come from the east and come here and attack the red serpent and nearly kill it. The red serpent will be so badly wounded, that it won’t even remember who it is. The white serpent will dominate this land for a long time. Then this black serpent is going to come from the south and it’s going to attack the white serpent and fight it. Fight it so badly that the white serpent’s tail is not going to want to be a part of this fight and it’s going to break away and be broken off.
When that happens, the red serpent is going to drag himself up into the high ground, away from this battle, and it’s going to heal. It’s going to go there to heal and to get better. In the process of doing that, that white serpent’s tail is going to follow that red serpent up into the hills, up into the high ground to heal as well, to get better. The black serpent is going to bite that white serpent’s head and mortally wound it. That white serpent is going to get really badly hurt and go home and go back into the salt water to the east and head back in the direction it came. It will sink below the water, under the surface and we won’t see it again.
And that black serpent will look at the red serpent up on the hill and the tail up there beside it, and then it’s going to turn away, and then it’ll make its way back down south where it came from and we won’t see it again either. And then that red serpent will heal and the red serpent and the white tail will be healthy and happy again, and be the only ones here on the land. I’ve heard lot of people talk about that in my life.
Some of them Crees, they believe that these oil pipelines, that’s the black serpent and that the oil economy is going to be what’s going to kill that white serpent. And that the white serpent’s tail has broke off already. That’s been the last straw for all these environmental activists, watching this Mordor happen in the tar sands and all these pipelines criss-crossing the land.
And they don’t want nothing to do with it, and so they’re joining allegiance in the hilly country, with the red serpent who’s broken, who’s destitute, who’s going up into the hills and healing. And then somebody pointed out to me the other day, they said “Is there any chance that that black serpent, that’s like Black Lives Matter? And like this movement of black people in the south, they’re all congregating in the south and they’re pushing on the white serpent, and they’re fighting.” And I realized I had never even thought of that. I thought maybe China would come up because they call the Chinese Army ‘The Black Snake’ and I thought maybe the Chinese were going to attack the Unites States again, coming from some of the communist countries in the south maybe allied with Venezuela or Bolivia or with the Russians or Cuba or something like that, that’s what I would think.
I don’t know why it never even dawned on me, well wait a minute, there’s a great big black serpent and it’s pissed, and it’s organizing and it has an enemy. Maybe we’ll see that, I don’t know. Maybe that’s that black serpent. I’m not really that worried about that. People have asked me “Well how will you know? How will you know its strength?” We don’t really need to know that because there’s another whole set of prophecies about that, certain things we’re going to see. And when we see them, it’s time to go onto the high ground.
They said that first we’re going to see strange diseases come that no one had ever seen before. And they were going to kill people and they’ll spread in the most natural way that we interact with each other. And then the trees will die from the tops down, and then the earth is going to get hot. It’ll warm up, the actual earth itself will warm up to where the animals like deer won’t stand all four feet on the ground and they’ll start standing on three, lifting one at a time, moving them.
And then we’ll begin to see white animals born again, and all of the white animals of the earth, they were all given the same instructions: to turn against all the creatures that Tonowaga created, [inaudible 06:51] including the human beings, destroy them. That’s their only instructions. And then we’ll see them again. And the reason is because the thunder beings will stop keeping them under the ground because everyone will have stopped giving thanks and paying attention to the thunder beings, so they’ll stop trying to help.
And then the water on the earth will turn on the human beings, and our giver of life will kill us humans. It’ll be dangerous to drink. And when that happens, we’re supposed to go to the high ground and return to our original instructions and to support ourselves, sustain ourselves from the land, and to relearn who we are and to pick up our culture, they’ve got scattered all over the ground, and to live like our ancestors. Because what’s coming is that there will be a war, and there will be fire in the sky, so the scorch across the sky.
And the people will swarm out of the cities like rats. They say that it will be the same as when the rats jumped off the boats when they first came. And that we are not to go and get involved. And we are not to go and help them. And that we need to keep our doors closed because they didn’t come there to learn and they didn’t come there to be peaceful. They’re going to come because they’re trying to survive. They’re just trying to take whatever they can. And we were told that we will be able to smell the smell of rotting bodies in the air. It’ll be on the wind. Death will be on the wind.
And we’re supposed to gather up all the knowledge holders, all the old ones and the young ones to whom the knowledge of our ancestors was passed to. And any of the people to whom this knowledge was passed – it might not just be our own people – and we’re supposed to keep them safe, put them away. They say we’re supposed to these knowledge holders somewhere safe underground, like in caves, and put them with the little kids.
And we’re supposed to keep our doors closed long enough that an entire generation passes. Babies that are born there will grow up to have their own children before we spread out. Because the only people that are going to survive will be the people who continue to follow the original instructions, the people who continue to have a special lovingful relationship with our mother. And no one else is going to make it. And they’re going to kill themselves or starve to death. And so we need to wait for an entire generation to grow up never knowing this world so they don’t repeat it, and they won’t miss it to make it new again. So when I go into the cities, I just see dead people. They just don’t know it yet.
Respondent: It might be their apocalypse. I’m okay with it. And it might be the only thing that Indians are hanging onto to have some hope. But they began having a series of conferences; the first one they had was in 1947 and all the head knowledge keepers and medicine men gathered and they have a meeting in Hopi country in 1947. Then they had another one in 1953, I think it was. It was 1953 and it was in Tuscarora. And then they had one in 1955 and then in 1957, and they carried right on until the seventies. And they continued to share the prophecies and exchange medicine and seeds.
And then people began getting prepared. And it was at that point that we’ve seen the first waves of Onkwehon:we people all over North and South America go into the high ground. The first ones, kaniengegh was one of them, there’s a stony boy? [inaudible 14:58] community in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, they went into the mountains in the sixties. They’re still there, waiting, and still following the original instructions and living off the land.
There’s a couple communities up north in Northern Ontario that did that. I believe some of the Hopis have done that. That’s essentially what the Zapatistas have done. And I think that we’re seeing another wave of that happening again, we’re seeing that in British Columbia with these people who are in so-called encampments. And I think that there’s a part of it that’s about activism and stopping this environmental catastrophe. But the motivation for stopping the environmental catastrophe is associated with this prophecy, because of their high ground and their place that they can go to live off the land gets destroyed, then they have no way to do that. That’s the motivation to survive what’s coming.
So our prophecies, there’s no stopping what they’re going to do. They’re going to fucking kill themselves off. Really, all it will take is China and Russia to kick the chair out from underneath the World Bank and the American dollar, and their economy will collapse. The entire commonwealth economy will collapse and those people will all starve to death.
That was what was passed to us when we were kids. That was our… becoming men and women, what was passed to us about why it was important to keep our culture alive and our language. And we were told that we would see it in our lifetime. That we were going to be the generation of people who would be there and be the able bodied ones to make sure that they into the high ground. And we were told that we had to be prepared. And it’s funny because all of my sort of like generation of people that were raised with that were all getting that. Buy little hobby farms, and we all got growing crops and we’re canning, and we’re not doing it on a massive scale, but we’re doing it enough that we’re capable, and we know how and that we need to do it.
So because of that, for me, I basically spent my entire adult life preparing to move the people or to establish a place on the high ground where people can relearn who they are again, where we can figure it out, where we have the opportunity to figure it out. Where we’re not being manipulated and we’re not being interfered with by the Indian Act or whatever, and bring our language back to life again in a living way, and bring our social economy back to life again, and to have a strong relationship with the land.
And as I’ve been watching what’s happening in the environment and what’s happening politically and so on, and the development that’s happening particularly in our territory in Southern Ontario and Northern New York State, it’s increasingly becoming more intensified, for me anyways, the notion that it’s time to go. We watched AIDS arrive, and it gets spread by our most intimate way to interact with each other. And no one knows where it comes from and we don’t know how to fix it. And the maple trees all die from the tops down. The acid rain killed… you know. And Dutch Elm tree bug came and it did the same thing, and it killed the trees from the tops down.
And then we watched that white buffalo get born. And now it’s crazy. Now it’s like… I was just reading the other day, there’s a park in Vancouver, and there’s like ten pairs of white ravens. And there’s an entire island of white black bears, and they’ve come across a whole series of pure white grizzly bears, not polar bears, grizzly bears. And I’ve seen a number of white deer. In fact, there’s a park in Seneca territory just across the river, just across over there, the Falls, it’s full of white deer. And there’s white moose being born and the elk. And we know that they’ve all been given the instruction to destroy the human beings. That’s why they’re all coming here.
We haven’t seen them in five thousand years, ten thousand years. The people out on the West Coast, they talk about it that there was a raven and when the white raven returned, it meant that it was a new time. There was change coming. And it’s here. Even these white snakes are being born. And then… You know, not one of our communities… well, only one… one, in all of our communities, you can drink the water. It’s toxic. It’ll hurt you. The water turned on us. So now we’re trucking water in from the filtration plant. There’s nothing lovingful about that. It’s not our life-giver, our [inaudible 22:05]. We’re forcing it to be even remotely safe for us.
And instead of focusing on changing the way we’re interacting with our environment so that our water is healthy, we’re putting in pipelines and we’re putting in water treatment plants instead of apologizing to our mother for how we treated her and put the trees back, the filter for all the water. believe that, for me, I’m motivated now that I spent my whole life studying and learning and trying to get prepared, not like it was some kind of crazy doomsday prepper… I guess kind of, but more about reconnecting to our culture and also [inaudible 23:06] and living a part with her… a part of her.
And I knew that… our elders told us that we would be the ones that would see it. We couldn’t be caught when it’s time and they’re not… like know about it and then not do something about it, not be ready and not be prepared. So I fully am planning to be a part of a movement of people to take land and to do that very thing, because it’s here. All of the signs have arisen. The settlers are killing earth and they dragged our people into it with them. And it’s time for the red serpent to go up on the hills and heal again. And we’re seeing [inaudible 24:06], that’s what they’re doing. And they’re letting their broke-off white tail come along for the ride and learn how to do it. They’re healed.
It’s happening all over, it’s here, it’s now. It’s not some time in the future that we’ve got to be aware of. It’s like right now. And we don’t know how long it’s going to take for them to really make a mess, I don’t know. But this is what we’ve see happening. I keep hearing people, like “What can the settlers do?”
The answer is be the white tail because otherwise the doors are closed. Fucking die, or go home. If you don’t want to listen and you don’t want to change… It’s not just about how do we reconcile our relationship. It literally means like change every aspect about how you live and how you interact with the world.