The seven grandfather teachings passed down by our elders have given us direction and balance in caring for one another and Mother Earth. The teachings of respect, honesty, love, courage, humility, truth and wisdom give young leaders the opportunity to listen, learn, and participate while making positive changes in the community and lives of community members. No single teaching is more important than the other, but they rather work in harmony with each other to complete the Circle.
Respect (Buffalo): All creation should be treated equal and with respect. The buffalo shared all parts of its being with man and woman providing food, shelter, and utensils for everyday living. The people were thankful for what the buffalo provided and returned respect back to the buffalo while being mindful not to take too much.
Honesty (Big Man): The giant stands out from others because he and she are honest people to the Creator, others and one’s self which takes bravery. Honesty keeps us true to our spirit in which the creator made for us. Honesty in words and actions allow us to be true to our heart and provide good feelings.
Love (Eagle): Like the eagle with love, we can reach heights otherwise out of reach because love is the greatest medicine of all. Before we can love our brothers and sisters we must love ourselves. The more we love ourselves, the higher we will soar like the eagle allowing us to have a pure vision.
Bravery/Courage (Bear): Bravery is the ability to face danger, fear, or changes with confidence and bravery. Though gentle by nature, the ferociousness of a Mama Bear when one of her cubs is approached is the true definition of courage. To have the mental and moral strength to overcome fears that prevents us from living our true spirit as human beings is a great challenge that must be met with the same vigor and intensity as a Mama Bear protecting her cub. Check out Chenoa’s story to learn more about what it means to have courage.
Humility (Wolf): Recognizing that there is a Higher Power than man known as the Creator is to be humble. The expression of humility is revealed through the consideration of others before ourselves. Wolf shows lack of arrogance and respect for the community.
Truth (Turtle): To know truth is to know and understand all of the original laws as given by the Creator- and to remain faithful to them. When the Creator gave man the seven sacred laws, Grandmother Turtle was present to ensure the laws would never be lost or forgotten. On the back of a Turtle are the 13 moons, each representing the truth of one cycle of the Earth’s rotations around the sun. The 28 markings on her back represent the cycle of the moon an of a woman’s body.
Wisdom (Beaver): The building of a community is entirely dependent on gifts given to each member by the Creator and how these gifts are used. The Beaver’s example of using his sharp teeth for cutting trees and branches to build his dams and lodges expresses this teaching. If he did not use his teeth, the teeth would continue to grow until they became useless, ultimately making it impossible for him to sustain himself. The same can be said for human beings. One’s spirit will grow weak if it is not fulfilling its use. When used properly however, these gifts contribute to the development of a peaceful and healthy community.