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Seven Teachings



The Seven Teachings of the Anishinaabe
Writing exercise based on the novel The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich

On a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian in Wash D.C., I learned about the Seven Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers of the Anishinaabe.

The Seven Teachings are the gifts of the Seven Grandfathers. They are: Honesty, Love, Courage, Truth, Wisdom, Humility, and Respect. Each teaching is represented by an animal. Following the teachings leads a person to well being. ~ Gary Raven 2000. Anishinaabe Teachings National Museum of the American Indian 2005 Smithsonian Institute. Washington D.C.

Throughout the story, Omakayas and the other characters learn many lessons.

Identify which of these lessons Omakayas or another character learned in the story. Select one lesson and explain how it is taught in the story.

Nbwaa kaa win - To cherish knowledge is to know WISDOM. Symbolized by the beaver.

Zaa gid win - To know LOVE is to know peace. You must love yourself in order to love another. Symbolized by the eagle.

Mnaa dendi mowin - To honor all of the Creation is to have RESPECT. Symbolized by the buffalo

Aak wade’ ewin - BRAVERY is to face the foe with integrity. The bear symbolizes the moral courage to do the right thing.

Gwek waadi ziwin - HONESTY in facing a situation is to be brave. Symbolized by Sasquatch or Wilderness Man.

Dbaa dendi ziwin - HUMILITY is to think things through carefully and to know your place. Symbolized by the wolf.

Deb we win - TRUTH is to know all of these things. Symbolized by the turtle.

The Seven Teachings: Pronunciation resource - click on the circle to hear the word.

Works Cited:

Benton-Banai presents these Seven Grandfathers in this order and style in his book..

Grand Council of Treaty #3 -

The Seven Teachings of the Ojibwe -

Anishinaabe Exhibit National Museum of the American Indian. Smithsonian Institute. Washington D.C. 2005

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich


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