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The Ripple Effect

The Fire was lit for a second time on February 15, 1996, for the 7th Annual Teachers of Experiential and Adventure Methodology (T.E.A.M.) Conference at Northeastern Illinois University, in Chicago. Sand was brought from the original Fire at The Grand Geneva to use as the base for this one. Jim Gilliahan, a speaker at the conference, who has Cherokee blood and is the fourth keeper of Sitting Bull’s Pipe, asked permission to add coal he had received from the Aniyunweya (Cherokee) Fire. Jim shared, “On a spiritual level, all the things connected with that Cherokee Fire now come here to Northeastern.” Two hundred participants were present at the closing. Participants again made Earth Bundles of the coals, ashes, and sand, to carry home with them.


The Fire was lit for a third time on March 15, 1996, at the Heartland Regional A.E.E. Conference, in Marquette, Michigan. Sand and coals were brought from the first two Fires to use in this one. The energy from this Fire was much different from the first two. It was a struggle to keep it burning. The wood delivered to the site was wet green pine. Several frantic calls were made but it appeared no one on campus or in the area had any usable wood for the Fire. Twice the Fire burned down to one match-like flame fueled by a frail piece of kindling. At the moment all hopes of keeping the Fire burning were gone, Mark Zanoni appeared.

He was at the conference to teach a traditional fire-making workshop. His experience, knowledge, and respect for the Fire brought it back to life. A few moments later a load of wood arrived that was driven to Marquette from over an hour away. For a short time on Saturday evening, the Fire was left unattended. The campus police on a routine visit used a fire extinguisher to kill the Fire, because “No one was watching it.” Witnesses said, “As soon as their squad car turned the corner a tiny puff of white smoke lifted from the Fire and it ignited again on its own.” Coals were collected and given at the closing to the participants.


The Fire was lit for a fourth time on Friday, February 14, 1997, for the 8th Annual T.E.A.M. Conference at Northeastern Illinois University, and it has been physically lit hundreds of times since.

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