The Check Is In The Mail by 7th Fire
Distributed by First Nations Music Publishing
(3015 Kennedy Rd, Unit #10, Scarborough, Ont., M1V 1E7)
When I first heard 7th Fire, it was during the summer of 1990. Remember that year when the Mohawks held an entire country spellbound as they blockaded their lands? Native pride was on fire in everyone’s heart.
The sounds of 7th Fire were perfect for that summer. Songs like “Colonial Attitude” and “Buffalo Jump” (referring to the infamous Indian Affairs program that was designed to make living conditions so bad on reserves that aboriginal people would move off and become assimilated into the mainstream society; could this be why conditions are so bad on reserves?… but I digress) were a godsend to radio shows like Indian Time on Montreal’s CKUT Radio.
Not only did the lyrics have relevance but the music was awesome. A blend of traditional native, funk, reggae, rock and even punk is the unique sound 7th Fire.
“The Check Is In The Mail” is their first single and talks about the welfare system and First Nations people. It’s a strong song, but my personal favourite on the album was “My Home.” Why? I just liked it.
By the way, in case you didn’t know, the name of the group is taken from an old native prophesy that foretells the coming of the whiteman (4th Fire), and says that after this there will come a time when the aboriginal people of this continent shall lose their land, their rights and their pride in a great struggle (5th fire). A time when despair and suicide would begin leading to youth turning away from traditional practices and our traditional religions (6th Fire).
Traditional aboriginal religions were persecuted by the British and Canadian governments. This would go on until the seventh generation. The seventh generation (7th Fire in the prophecy) would see a resurgence of pride in ourselves and we would begin to set things right. We would return to our culture as a basis for our lives and we would walk the sacred path chosen by the Creator for us once again.
7th Fire is the right name for this band. You hear the pride and anger in their voices and instruments. You can also hear the hope they have. Give this album and the earlier releases a chance to slide into your life.
You won’t forgive yourself if you don’t.