Story of the Seven Fires

Teacher’s Manual and Media Presentation

Sally Gaikezheyongai

This resource presents a historical perspective on the evolution of relationships between First Nations and Canadian communities and includes a DVD.
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The Story of the Seven Fires features a one hour DVD and a workbook. Both items include a brief introductory description of how this project came about. The DVD is a version of the Seven Fires story as told to a live audience. In the manner of Aboriginal oral storytelling, the way in which the story is told serves many purposes. It invites the listener’s attentiveness, stimulates the imagination, causes one to reflect upon realities and issues, and massages one’s understanding of self by challenging perceptions and reworking memories. The workbook is the story in another format. Either of these tools can be used to enhance the listener/learner’s self-directed learning process.

Woven together in the story of the Seven Fires are the hopes and voices of many Aboriginal teachers and community members, some of the spiritual and cultural teachings being revived by First Nations peoples, and pieces of collective history that influence present circumstances. The story uses metaphor, analogy, and archetype as mirrors to capture and reflect many concepts for the purpose of touching the minds, hearts, and spirits of a diverse audience. Symbols are used as tools to help the listener remember the ideas being shared. The examples were chosen so listeners can make their own links and connections between the past and present, the private and impersonal, the personal and political. The experience illustrates how storytelling can be part of a transformative learning process.

About the Author

Sally Gaikezheyongai spent most of her childhood on the Wikwemikong reservation on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario. Later, she moved to Toronto and became actively involved in the urban Aboriginal community. As a storyteller for social change, she weaves what she has learned about Aboriginal history, culture, and spirituality into a picture that promotes understanding and reconciliation. She has worked in the field of Native literacy as an instructor.

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