A Fire Burns Within: Teachings from Ceremony and Culture

By: Sharon L. Acoose, PhD


Dr. Sharon Acoose (Associate Professor of Indigenous Social Work, First Nations University of Canada) provides an enlightening investigation into how Ceremony (using Circles/Medicine Wheels and their connectedness to the land and its people) can enable individuals to live mi’no’ – pi’maat’zhi’win’ (Saulteaux for ‘living the good life’).Specific to this book, Dr. Acoose discusses how Cree/Saulteaux culture and ceremony can be used as a tool for recovery. For those wanting to understand and overcome life as they are currently living it, this book provides an example of how to create a visual map of life from birth to where you currently find yourself. As such, one may use the knowledge and wisdom upon these pages, in collaboration with Elders, to understand where things went wrong, (and to celebrate where things went right) so as to be able to address problem areas. This book is a must read.

  • ISBN:  978-1-926476-11-7
    Price: $23.00
    Binding: Paperback
    Date: 2016
    Rights: World
    Pages: 103
    Size: 6” x 9”

  • Table of Contents


    1. Introduction

    2. The Use of Ceremony & Culture as a Tool for Recovery

    3. Strong Women Rebuild Lives

    4. The Walk Through Ceremony

    5. The Life History Model

    6. My Personal Experience Through Ceremony

    7. A Fire Burns Within

    8. Aspirations of Change

    9. The Heart of A Warrior

    10. Perseverance – Near Death Experience

    About the Author

  • Sharon L. Acoose, PhD

    Sharon L. Acoose, PhD is a member of the Sakimay First Nation and Associate Professor of Indigenous Social Work at First Nations University of Canada. She is author of An Arrow In My Heart: A First Nation Woman’s Account of Survival from the Streets to the Height of Academia.

  • Racism, sexism, and colonization are discussed by Professor Sharon Acoose in order to demonstrate how imperialism functions to criminalize Indigenous women while marginalizing them at the same time. Dr. Acoose challenges the familiar stereotypes that continue to exploit Indigenous peoples in the present day. The philosophical interpretation contained in this manuscript provides considerable discussion of the cultural, ceremonial, and healing aspects of Indigenous traditions. Traditional Indigenous knowledge and the role of Elders in fostering healing are well developed in her narrative. A must read for those interested in Indigenous topics.

    John G. Hansen, PhD

    Member, Opaskwayak Cree Nation
    Assistant Professor
    Dept. of Sociology
    University of Saskatchewan

    A Fire Burns Within is a book worth reading especially for people who are trying to find sobriety in their lives through ceremony. The content is shared with sometimes-brutal honesty. Truth-taking is difficult after trauma. Disclosure allows healing. The book is really all about coming full-circle. I applaud the author for her work in this book. It will be well received by readers.

    Herman J. Michell, PhD

    Member, Barren Lands First Nation
    President & CEO
    Northern Teacher Education Program
    Northern Professional Access College

    Dr. Sharon Acoose’s book, A Fire Burns Within, gifts the reader with images of a journey into her culture. Sharon explores ceremonies and how they helped her to find her true self. The most powerful aspect of her writing is her ability to let the reader know her. Her relationships with Elders have become her beacon and she makes us feel that we, too, can find our deeper truths through ceremony and a spiritual commitment. She acknowledges life’s difficulties and the sacrifices that are part of a traditional life, and we cheer for her as her grit keeps her going.

    Joan Sanderson, PhD

    Member, James Smith First Nation
    Associate Professor
    School of Indigenous Social Work
    First Nations University of Canada