A critically important and timely manifesto, Our Hearts Are as One Fire: An Ojibway-Anishinabe Vision for the Future by Jerry Fontaine draws on Ojibway-, Ota’wa-, and Ishkodawatomi-Anishinabe world views, history, and lived experience to develop a wholly Ojibway-Anishinabe interpretation of the role of traditional leadership and governance today.
Author Jerry Fontaine was once told he would never amount to anything, today that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. He served as elected Indian Act chief from 1987-1998 for the Sagkeeng First Nation, was an advisor to Indigenous communities and industry and obtained his doctorate from the University of Winnipeg, where he currently teaches Indigenous studies.
Fontaine has always followed a spiritually guided path, this led him to learn about three great eighteen and nineteenth century Ojibway-Anishinabe leaders — Obwandiac (also known as Pontiac), Tecumtha (a.k.a. Tecumseh) and Shingwauk. These leaders challenged violent and aggressive colonial expansion that would shape the future of Manitou Aki (Creator’s Land). His spiritual journey finally steered him to the descendants of the leaders and these profound connections allowed him to more fully understand how the land, language, ceremony, spirituality and clan system were all so very connected; and, that language is the doorway to the Ojibway-Anishinabe worldview.
In this remarkable work, Our Hearts Are as One Fire reveals the need for Anishinabeg to reconnect with non-colonized modes of thinking, social organization, and decision-making in order to achieve genuine sovereignty. Throughout his research and writing Fontaine has followed Ojibway-Anishinabe protocol, using ceremony to conduct his research, and writing it from an Ojibway-Anishinabe perspective, rather than a western one.
“makwa ogimaa presents an intimate story of Anishinabe traditional leadership, one that reflects the place of ‘an ethics of relationship’ that is so urgently needed as we search for paradigms of leadership that once again connect us to each other and to the Earth,” Gregory Cajete, University of New Mexico
In Our Hearts Are as One, Jerry Fontaine has reshaped the history of Manitou Aki and shares a vision of how Ojibway, Ota’wa and Ishkodawatomi-Anishinabe spiritual and cultural values, language, and legal and political principles will support the leaders of today and tomorrow.
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