These are traditional values that are from First Nation’s culture.
Each is based on an important virtue to live by in our everyday lives. These teachings have been passed from generation to generation in Indigenous culture, orally. It is the Elders who pass this along and carry this important knowledge.
Here are the 7 Sacred Grandfather Teachings Represented by Animals:
The Eagle represents true love as it has a special relationship with the Creator. The first love we experience is with the Great Spirit. Spirit is the father of all and gives us life.
Eagle represents love because of its ability to fly higher than any other creature. It sees the bigger picture and has pure vision.
Love is the greatest medicine but can also be the hardest to truly understand and learn. Love is the hub of the Medicine Wheel. It is symbolic of fire and Creator.
The wolf represents humility. It lives as part of a community, the wolf pack. It constantly works together with the other members of the pack with a sense of devotion and protection to it’s loved ones. Wolves mate for life and are great parents.
Seeing the Creator as the source and recognizing its power is very humbling. When we submit to Spirit and believe all things are created equal in the universe, we begin to live with humility.
We begin to express humility when we start to think of others before ourselves. The wolf is the teacher of this value as she always bows her head in deference to others in her pack. She respects her community and what it offers her.
Live your life selflessly, walk with beauty, and praise others. Arrogance and importance do not bring about balance in one’s life or in the creation of things.
The Kitch-Sabe (Sasquatch) was a giant that existed, and it represents honesty. At one time it walked among the people and taught honesty. It also was important in teaching humans to be honest with the laws the Creator had gifted us with.
Always walk tall but do not seek power. Live a life full of integrity. Accept who you are and do not try to deceive anyone including yourself.
One of the highest honours you can give another is to say, “There walks an honest person. They can be trusted.” A truly honest person always keeps the promises they make to themselves, to others, and to the Creator.
Honesty comes from within and is important for survival. At the current time we are not being honest with ourselves and as a result, we are leaving destruction upon the Earth.
It is the beaver that represents wisdom. Spirit gave the beaver large teeth and the wonderful ability to be able to build dams that can positively change its environment. Their work helps all of nature and creates a sustainable world.
When building a community, it is important we use the gifts of all members. The beaver teaches us that.
The beaver must use his teeth for cutting trees and branches to create the dams. If the beaver does not use his teeth, they continue to grow. The growing teeth ultimately become useless and life for the beaver becomes impossible.
Humans are the same. Our spirit becomes weak if we are not fulfilled and live our lives to the fullest. When a person fully utilizes their gifts for themselves, others, community, and Spirit they blossom. We all have different gifts. When we use these gifts to their full potential we begin to experience wisdom.
Do not confuse wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is from experience. Knowledge is to know.
Respect other differences and always be kind and respectful. Clearly listen, allow yourself to learn. Always respect your surroundings.
The bear represents courage. It displays strength and an incredible ability to overcome challenges. It also lives a life of balance in the way it rests, survives, and plays.
It also teaches many lessons by the way it lives. Bear is generally very gentle, but a Mother bear will become extremely ferocious when another comes near her cubs. She truly shows great courage. The bear also displays great strength to overcome its fears.
When we look at the bear we see the need to overcome our fears, walk with strength as human beings. Living life from the heart and with Spirit can be difficult. But the bear shows us courage, as it faces all this life.
We understand it takes courage to be a warrior and fight ourselves. When we have courage, we can heal.
The turtle represents truth. It symbolizes law and principle. When Creator made human beings, Grandmother Turtle was present to make sure the laws would never be lost or forgotten. Nature’s laws have never changed.
The turtle lives a slow and deliberate life. It understands that the journey and the destination are both important.
To be truthful is to know and understand all the original laws given to us by Creator. It is also important to remain true to them.
On the back of Grandmother Turtle, there are 13 moons which represent the truth of one cycle of the Earth’s rotation around the sun. The moon and a woman’s body is also represented by the 28 markings turtle has on it’s back. The turtle’s shell represents the body of real events as made by the Creator, and it always reminds us of Spirit’s will and teachings.
The buffalo represents respect. For as long as the people lived, they have been given clothing, food, and shelter by the buffalo.
The buffalo gives its life and shares every part of itself so that we can live. Because of that, we show it deep and ultimate respect. There is not another animal that has been as important to the Indigenous people than the buffalo.
Always respect yourself, your body. If you do not, you will eventually destroy yourself.
Live with honour to yourself and all things. Always keep in mind that everything is in balance and do not waste what you have been given. Treat others as you wish to be treated.
– Samaria Nancy Cardinal
Samaria Nancy Cardinal is a person of Metis ancestry (Cree and Kainai). She was introduced to many teachings like this when she was young. If you would like to connect with her, please go to her website.