UNITY Fire – UNITY, Inc.

The origin of the UNITY Fire


Photo: The late Grandpa Warren Skye, former Conference Elder, Fire Keeper

Nearly all our ceremonial ways are centered around the use of air, water, pant life, animal life, and the use of fire. For this reason, a member of the 1995 Executive Committee of the National UNITY Council by the name of SleepyEye LaFromboise, Seneca/Dakota, asked one of his grandfathers, the late Warren Skye, Seneca, how UNITY could utilize these elements during the national conference. At the time, “Grandpa Skye” explained that whenever the Nations of the Haudenosaunee people meet to conduct business or have ceremonies they always utilize a fire with prayer. Since many Nations of Native youth come together during the National Conference to better themselves, the concept of the fire was presented.

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UNITY Drum: How it all began

In 1994 at the National UNITY Conference in Tampa Bay, Florida, Bea Shawanda, Odawa/Pottowottomi from Wikwemikong Manitoulin Island, Ontario and her son Niso presented UNITY with a drum. A great gift from our north country, it was said that this drum is for everyone. All who can and want to sing were invited to have a seat at this drum. “Wherever it may be, the UNITY Drum is considered as an open drum, no matter what tribe or gender. All tribes have their own way and protocols and we have to respect each and everyone,” said Junior Sierra, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a UNITY drum keeper.

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2019 NATIONAL UNITY CONFERENCE ROCK PROJECT

All 2019 National UNITY Conference attendees are invited to take part in the UNITY Rock Project, to be used to surround the UNITY Fire and as an gift exchange.

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UNITY FIRE TRAINING – 2019 UNITY Midyear Conference

The UNITY Fire has been added as a POST-Midyear conference training featuring Alumni Firekeepers Sleepyeye LaFromboise and Sheldon Smith.
Take the UNITY Fire to your community! Learn more on how Native youth can build your own UNITY Fire by working closely with local elders, trained mental health professionals, behavioral health counselors and traditional healers.  The training will be held on Monday, February 18, 2019. Registration is limited to the first 25 youth who sign up. Participants must be registered for the 2019 UNITY Midyear Conference to attend this session.

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The UNITY Fire

UNITY Fire at Midyear Conference

Nearly all our ceremonial ways are centered around the use of air, water, plant life, animal life, and the use of fire. For this reason, a member of the 1995 Executive Committee of the National UNITY Council by the name of SleepyEye LaFromboise (Seneca/Dakota) asked one of his grandfathers, Warren Skye (Seneca) pictured, how UNITY could utilize these elements during the national conference. At the time, “Grandpa Skye” explained that whenever the Nations of the Hodensaunee people meet to conduct business or have ceremonies they always utilize a fire with prayer. Since many Nations of Native youth come together during the National Conference to better themselves, the concept of the fire was presented. Read More

Freeport McMoran Inc. Provides Funding for UNITY Fire Programming

Thanks to funding provided by Freeport McMoran Inc., UNITY youth leaders, advisors and elders were able to experience the UNITY Fire ceremony and learn about fire keeping duties at the UNITY Midyear Conference held last February in Tempe, Arizona. The UNITY Fire program began in the 1990s at the National UNITY Conference. A Seneca elder, the late Warren Skye, helped to develop what has become a sacred and safe place for cultural sharing and healing for young and old alike. Read More

UNITY Joins Forces with NICOA to Promote UNITY Fire Ideals

nicoa-unityfire-2The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) will now have a “UNITY” Fire burning at its conferences for spiritual and community building purposes. NICOA liked the idea of the UNITY Fire so much they invited UNITY youth and others to take part in a ceremonial lighting of the fire to kick off its conference earlier this month in Niagara Falls, New York. Read More