The first elder was given gifts of knowledge by the Seven Grandfathers. These gifts were to help the people live a good life and to respect the Creator, the earth and each other. The Seven Grandfathers told the First Elder that “Each of these teachings must be used with the rest; you can not have wisdom without love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth...to leave one out is to embrace the opposite of what that teaching is.”. These teachings are important to Ojibwa culture and must be practiced and taught to our children.
Nibwaakaawin—Wisdom: Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people. To have wisdom is to know the difference between good and bad and know the result of your actions. Wisdom is sound judgment, the ability to see inner qualities, and to listen and use the wisdom of elders, spiritual leaders and healers. Wisdom is the ability to use good sense, to have a good attitude that runs through and binds the seven teachings together. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people.
Zaagi’idiwin—Love: To know Love is to know peace. Feel and give absolute kindness for all things around you. To love yourself is to live at peace and harmony with the creator. Love is to feel and give complete kindness for all things around you. Love is based upon affection, respect, kindness, unselfish loyalty, devotion and concern. Love cannot be demanded, it must be earned and given freely.
Minaadendamowin—Respect: All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected. Showing respect is showing the value in the being or thing. Don't hurt anything or anyone on the outside or the inside. Respect cannot be demanded, respect must be given freely from the goodness of your heart if you wish to be respected in return.
Aakode’ewin—Bravery: Bravery is to face the foe with integrity, do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant. In the Anishinaabe language, this word means “state of having a fearless heart.” Bravery is the personal strength to face difficulties, obstacles and challenges. Stand up for your convictions, and show courage in decision-making situations. Being ready to defend what you believe and what is right.
Gwayakwaadiziwin—Honesty: Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and it will become easier to be honest with others. Recognize who and what you are, and accept and act on truths with straightforward and appropriate communication. Do not be deceitful or use self-deception, be honest in every action and provide good feelings in the heart.
Dabaadendiziwin—Humility: Humility is to know yourself as a part of Creation. You are equal to others, but you are not better. Recognize the human need for balance in life. Know that you are equal to everyone else. Take pride in what you do, but the pride from sharing the accomplishment with others.
Debwewin—Truth: Truth is to know all of these things. Do not deceive yourself or others. Faithfully apply the teachings of our seven grandfathers and have complete trust in the creator. To show honor is to be truthful and trustworthy, and show sincerity in action, character, and utterance. Be faithful to fact and reality. Be true to yourself and true to your fellow man.
To cherish knowledge is to know WISDOM
To know LOVE is to know peace
To honor all the creation is to have RESPECT
To face life with courage is to know BRAVERY.
To walk through life with integrity is to know HONESTY
HUMILITY is to know yourself as a sacred part of creation
TRUTH is to know all of these things.