Guest blogger: Patty Graves, Cass Lake Bena School
My first chance to visit the local High School, I had to stop and admire the beautiful posters they had tacked to the wall out in one of the hallways. Was it positioned there for a reason, had any of these students really stopped and read this poster. But how could they have, stopped and viewed the poster of the Seven Grandfather teachings? They had maybe five minutes to their next class. Even I had to stand their for better than five minutes to read the description of the Wolf, given the Ojibwe word for “Dabbadenidiiwin-humility and the Ojbwe word for wolf, Maiigian.
This is oral history that should be shared with Anishanaabe students. There are insights that teach them what the Seven Teaching’s are all about. I have seen sights that have made curriculum especially for the Seven Grandfather teachings. History of these oral teachings are
what the children should not only be exposed to but have as lesson, so they to are aware of these teachings.
It says that humility is represented by the Maiigian, and that the Maiigian, lives for his pack, knowing that the ultimate shame is to be an outcast. And to know your own self as part of the sacred creation. The Maiigian represents loyalty, intuition and perseverance. To recognize and acknowledge their is a power greater than ourselves. These teachings are meant to work together, thats why they are in a circle. What they do represent is teachings that help find balance. There are seven animals that represent these teachings, and the Ojibwe language should be used when talking about them.
You could offer tobacco before you teach these and ask that you give them the needed attention they deserve. Or get an elder to come to the class room and give the teachings to the students.
The Seven Teachings:
Love (Zaagidiwin) is represented by the Miigizi (Eagle), Respect (Mnaadenidmowin) is represented by Mashkode-Bishiki (Buffalo), Honest (Gwekwaadiziwin), is represented by Misabe-(Big-foot), Bravery (Aakwaodeewin) is represented by Mukwa (Bear), Truth (Debwewin) is represented by the Minkinak (Turtle), and the last one Wisdom (Nbwaakaawin) is represented by the Amik (Beaver).