National Indigenous History Month and Lessons for Everyday Life
Every June we celebrate National Indigenous History Month to recognize the history, heritage, diversity, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. This celebration began on June 13, 1996 when Governor General Roméo LeBlanc announced the government’s intention to have an annual, national celebration of Indigenous peoples through the recognition of National Indigenous History Month and designating June 21st as the Indigenous Peoples Day. As we celebrate this day, it is also an opportunity to learn about, appreciate, and acknowledge the contributions of Indigenous Peoples, past and present, in the shaping of the Canada we all enjoy today.
A significant contribution of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada is the sharing of their oral history and teachings, through stories and illustrations. Today, we would like to take a moment to learn about a teaching shared by the Anishinaabeg (plural form of Anishinaabe) People who live in parts of Canada and the United States, primarily concentrated around the great lakes. These teachings can impact your thoughts, decisions, and actions, encouraging you to live a more connected, happy, and peaceful life.
This teaching is called the Seven Grandfather Teachings. It is a guiding moral foundation of values, each represented by a specific animal, to teach us the lessons of Humility, Bravery, Honesty, Wisdom, Truth, Respect, and Love.
Dbaadendiziwin – Humility
The wolf lives its life for its pack. Humility is knowing that you are a sacred part of creation and that you should live selflessly not selfishly.
Aawa’ode’ewin – Bravery
The mother bear has the courage and strength to face her fears and challenges while protecting her young. Defend what you believe in, have conviction in your decisions and face your fears.
Gwekwaadziwin – Honesty
The Sabe, or bigfoot, understands who they are and how to walk in their life. Honesty is to accept who you are and not seek the power, speed or beauty of others.
Nbwaakaawin – Wisdom
The beaver uses his natural gift wisely for survival. To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom. Use your inherent gifts wisely and live your life by them.
Debwewin – Truth
The turtle was here during the creation of the Earth and carried the teachings of life on its back. Truth is to live your life understanding the importance of both the journey and the destination.
Mnaadendimowin – Respect
The buffalo gives every part of his being to sustain the human way of living because he respects balance and the needs of others. To honor all creations and strive for balance is to live life with respect.
Zaagidwin – Love
The eagle has the strength to carry all of the teachings and flies closest to The Creator. To know love is to view your inner self from the perspective of all teachings and live in peace.
It is important to know that each of the Seven Grandfathers must be used in unison with the others. You cannot have Wisdom without Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth. Incorporating these teachings into our daily lives will help us to be sincere in our actions, character, and words.
Even in business, this is an important lesson to be applied. At Welch, our core values are care, impact, and empower. We can further our client and community relations by including the morals of the Seven Grandfather Teachings into our daily business dealings. Upholding the balance between the seven foundations will not only benefit our business, but also our peers, partners, and community for years to come. The EDI Community Alliance also aspires to incorporate these teachings, host events, and further discussion surrounding reconciliation in the Fall of 2022.