These teachings honour Spiritual Laws and bring us back to connect with Manidoo Gitagaan “Creator’s Garden” – Our Mother Earth – Aki.
When one can walk the spirit of these Seven Sacred Laws is when one becomes truly free, it is then that one receives the full support of the universe, and the forces of the Earth itself.
The Seven Grandfather Teachings
Seven Grandfather Teachings, Gimishomis inaan kinamadiinan (Our Seven Grandfather Teachings), are our Anishinaabeg Principles of Life that shall guide all decision making for our children, as they are the centre of the Spiritual Laws of Gizhe Manidoo:
Respect — Manaajii’itiwin (Be Respectful)
Respect all of life on Aki. Do not waste. Use all things wisely. Never take more than you need and always give away that which you do not use. And treat others as you would have them treat you, respectfully. Learn respect and learn balance. What goes up will come down. That is a spiritual law. What you do for others will be done for you. What you give away will always come back to you in the Sacred One Circle.
Love — Zaagii’idiwin (The Art of Love)
Migizi (Bald Eagle)
Migizi of love is about loving the Gizhe Manidoo, loving Aki, loving ourselves in the way we were created, and loving each other in the highest way. The essence of love is understanding, with empathy and compassion. Migizi flies high above the Aki and sees all that is true. She exemplifies all teachings. Look to Migizi as she models Love. Honour her always.
Humility — Bibaadendizowin (He/she is feeling humility)
Ma’iingan of humility teaches us we must always be considerate of our children. Always carry out actions in humility. Think of your family, your fellow human beings, and your community before you think of yourself. To know humility is to understand that you are not more or less important than anyone else. We are all equal in the eyes of the Gizhe Manidoo. Observe how Ma’iingan does not live for himself but for the pack.
Courage — Zongidewin (Strong Heart)
It takes courage to do the right thing for the sake of the children, the way a mother bear would die before seeing harm come to her cub. Look to the bear to model courage. Just as courage sleeps in Makwa through long winter months, it is dormant within you. It need only be awakened. In life, you need courage to transform fears that might prevent you from living a good life. Makwa shows you how to face fear and danger.
Honesty — Gwayakwaadizin (Go Straight, a Way of Life)
Here is a giant called Saabe who walks in the Natural World to remind the People of the importance of being honest to the laws of the Creator as well as one another. Honesty is refusing to lie or engage in gossip about others. Honesty is being true to our words and action. Honesty is never judging or condemning others, but to speak well of others, honouring their uniqueness within the human family.
Wisdom — Nibwaakaawin (Wise/Intelligent)
Wisdom is about using the gift that Gizhe Manidoo gave each of us to serve, and to build a strong family, community, and Nation. Our gifts do not belong to us as individuals, but belong to all the people, to serve the good of the Nation. If the beaver did not use his gift to build, his teeth would grow long, and he would die. Similarly, if we do not use our gifts in a good way for the benefit of Aki and the brothers and sisters of our Nations, we too would die spiritually.
Truth — Debwewin (The Heart is Telling the Truth)
Mikinaak is said to have been present when Gizhi Manidoo created us so that we would never lose our teachings. Always seek truth. The truth lies in spirit. The spirit is in your heart. It is when we live truth that we will know peace and find the truth of our humanity. Slow moving Mikinaak understands that the journey of life is as important as the destination.