7 Sacred Teachings
Humility - Wolf (*ma'iingan/mahihkan)
Humility is represented by the wolf. For the wolf, life is lived for his pack and the ultimate shame is to be outcast.
Recognizing and acknowledging that there is a higher power than man and it is known as the Creator is to be deemed truly humble. To express deference or submission to the Creator through the acceptance that all beings are equal is to capture the spirit of humility. The expression of this humility is manifested through the consideration of others before ourselves. In this way, the Wolf became the teacher of this lesson. He bows his head in the presence of others out of deference, and once hunted, will not take of the food until it can be shared with the pack. His lack of arrogance and respect for his community is a hard lesson, but integral in the Aboriginal way.
Humility is to know that you are a sacred part of creation.
Live life selflessly and not selfishly. Respect your place and carry your pride with your people and praise the accomplishments of all. Do not become arrogant and self-important. Find balance within yourself and all living things.
Honesty is represented by the raven. Raven understands who they are how to walk in their life. Raven reminds us to be ourselves and not someone we are not. An honest person is said to walk tall. Raven accepts himself and knows how to use his gift. He does not seek the power, speed or beauty of others. He uses what he has been given to survive and thrive.
So must you."
Long ago, Raven walked among the people to remind them to be honest with the laws of the creator and honest with each other. The highest honor that could be bestowed upon an individual was the saying "There walks an honest man. He can be trusted." To be truly honest was to keep the promises one made to the Creator, to others and to oneself. The Elders would say, "Never try to
be someone else; live true to your spirit, be honest to yourself and accept who you are the way the Creator made you."
To walk through life with integrity is to know honesty.
Be honest with yourself. Recognize and accept who you are. Accept and use the gifts you have been given. Do not seek to deceive yourself or others.
*Respect - Buffalo (paskwawimostos/mashkode-bizhiki)
Respect is represented by the buffalo. The buffalo gives every part of his being to sustain the human way of living, not because he is of less value, but because he respects the balance and needs of others.
The Buffalo, through giving its life and sharing every part of its being, showed the deep respect it had for the people. No animal was more important to the existence of Indigenous families than this animal, and it's a gift provided shelter, clothing, and utensils for daily living.
Native people believed themselves to be true caretakers of the great herds and developed a sustainable relationship with the Buffalo resulting in a relationship that was a true expression of respect...
To honor all creation is to have respect.
Live honorably in teachings and in your actions towards all things. Do not waste and be mindful of the balance of all living things. Share and give away what you do not need. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Do not be hurtful to yourself or others.
COURAGE. The Bear (makwa/maskwa)
Courage is the ability to face danger, fear or changes with confidence and bravery.
The Bear provides many lessons in the way it lives, but courage is the most important teaching it offers. Though gentle by nature, the ferociousness of a mother 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 prevent 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 mother bear protecting her cub. Living of the heart and
the living of the spirit is difficult, but the Bear's example shows us how to face any danger to achieve these goals.
The Bear represents courage because of strength and natural ability to overcome challenges. A mother bear, for example, will stand against a much larger, stronger male bear or other threat to protect her cubs.
Just as the bear hibernates during the winter and reawakens each spring, we too, need rest and rejuvenation. The Bear shows us how to live a balanced life, where there is a time to be playful and a time to be assertive and courageous.
Native people believe that the Bear calls them to awaken the potential within themselves and to stand up for what they believe in.
*Wisdom - Beaver (amisk/amik)
The beaver represents wisdom because he uses his natural gift wisely for his survival. The beaver also alters his environment in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way for the benefit of his family.
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.
To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
Use your inherent gifts wisely and live your life by them. Recognize your differences and those of others in a kind and respectful way.
Continuously observe the life of all things around you. Listen with clarity and a sound mind. Respect your own limitations and those of all of your surroundings. Allow yourself to learn and live by your wisdom.
*Truth - Turtle (miskinâhk/ miskwaadesi)
Truth is represented by the turtle as he was here during the creation of Earth and carries the teachings of life on his back. The turtle lives life in a slow and meticulous manner because he understands the importance of both the journey and the destination.
To know the truth is to know and understand all of the original laws as given by the Creator- and to remain faithful to them. It is said that in the beginning, when the Creator made man and gave him the seven sacred laws, the Grandmother Turtle was present to ensure that the laws would
never be lost or forgotten. On the back of a Turtle is the 13 moon, 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 and of a woman's body. The shell of the Turtle represents the body real
events as created by the Higher Power and serves as a reminder of the Creator's will and teachings.
Truth is to know all of these things.
Apply faith and trust in your teachings. Show honor and sincerity in all that you say and do. Understand your place in this life and apply that understanding in the way that you walk. Be true to yourself and all other things.
*Love - Eagle (kihîw/migizi)
The eagle represents love because he has the strength to carry all the teachings. The eagle has the ability to fly highest and closest to the creator and also has the sight to see all the ways of being from great distances. The Eagle's teaching of love can be found in the core of all teachings, therefore an eagle feather is considered the highest
honor and a sacred gift.
To feel true love is to know the Creator. Therefore, it is expected that one's first love is to be the Great Spirit. He is considered the father of all children, and the giver of human life. Love given to the Great Spirit is expressed through the love of oneself, and it is understood that if one cannot love oneself, it is impossible to love anyone else.
The Eagle was chosen by the Great Spirit to represent this law, as the Eagle can reach the highest out of all the creatures in bringing a pure vision to the seeker. Though the purveyor of the greatest and most powerful medicine, love can also be the most elusive of the teachings,
as it depends upon a world that acknowledges the importance of spirituality.
View your inner-self from the perspective of all teachings. This is to know love and to love yourself truly. Then you will be at peace with yourself, the balance of life, all things and also with the creator.