History of Four Winds

Our first Four Winds event took place in Helsinki and Espoo. We gathered in Nuuksio National Park in early Autumn 1996. The event was organized by a team led by Teemu Kassila. Our guests were Michael Mutezo and Juli Otavo from Zimbabwe, Blackfoot descendant and messenger of Native American people Charles Lawrence and Cree representative Ernest Sundown from U.S.A., Chipcha Chia Zipa from Columbia, Kärt Summatavet, Henrik Relve, Riina Laur and Triinu Somermaa from Estonia, and Matthis Pentha and Inger Elin from Samiland of Norway. Johannes Setälä and Heikki Ahonala from Finland were present as well.

We worked with many partners such as the American Indian Association of Finland, the Finnish Peace Education Institute, PAND-Artists for Peace and the Finnish Peace Committee. The original idea behind this event was to honor the life and work of Hopi-grandmother Carolyn Tawangyama. In her words: “A small group of people who overcome themselves will unite the profesies and bring back unity for all people.” Grandmother Carolyn worked all over the world to promote world peace and spiritual growth.

In the end of the first day hundreds of people gathered for “The Night of Drums” at Taivaskallio, Helsinki. The representatives of the indigenous people assigned artist and shaman Johannes Setälä for the mission of “The Guardian of the Northern Fire” and the carrier of this tradition.

In spring 1997 seventeen people signed the memorandum of The Four Winds Association. In July 1997 we gathered in the stone-age village of Saarijärvi. Invited from North America were Seneca-grandmother Sarah Smith from Canada, Lakota Wallace Black elk, Sharon Salter-Balfour and Charles Lawrence. Yeshi Phuntsok and Sonam Tamang from Himalaya came as ambassadors of The Dalai Lama. Shamans Urana Mongus and Nadja Li came from Tuva, Johannes Setälä from Finland, and Elina Helander from Samiland of Finland.

In 1998 the five-day camp of Four Winds was situated by the lake Kuikkajärvi in Kuhmo. Invited was Don Chuck – a representative of the Southern Maya tribes and member of the Mayan Council of Elders. Mousse Ndiaye introduced us to the Griot tradition of Senegal, and the women of his big family danced for us. A group of international Sufi Dancers performed a Sacred Whirling Meditation with Zahira. Elie Noël introduced us to Haitian vèvè-painting and drumming traditions. Tenzin Dhondup was the representative of the Tibetan Buddhists. Many traditions were highlighted. Our own ancient tradition was presented with a ritual performance of “The Stone of Pain” performed by Timo Heikkinen and Tapani Hietalahti. We builded our first Lodge Sauna here in Kuhmo.

This is how it all started. Our (so far) 20 years of his-/herstory is a long and winding path, the events have been rich in traditions and spiced with a lot of music and dancing and fun, and all is not yet translated in English. We will do our best!