Indigenous Awareness Week (IAW) is taking place 24 to 27 May 22. The purpose of this national celebration is to provide Canadians with the opportunity to learn about the history of indigenous peoples in Canada and to participate in activities that highlight the rich diversity of the cultures, traditions and values of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. The Defence Team (DT) will be celebrating the 2022 IAW with the theme “We are all in the same canoe, under the same sun” which highlights our shared responsibility in moving forward together toward meaningful reconciliation. The following information on the Seven Grandfather Teachings provide guidance on human conduct and provide the DT with material to reflect upon as we start 2022 IAW:
For thousands of years, Indigenous Peoples have lived their lives by seven guiding principles – the 7 Grandfather Teachings. Gifted from the creator, these guiding principles encourage respect for all living things. Anishinaabek wisdom begins with observing the world from your heart (feeling).
- Dbaadendiziwin means Humility. This teaching represented by the wolf encourages us to reflect on our place in creation. “I am equal to all living things, not above, not below.” Humility asks us to reflect on ourself and identify out strengths and weakness, and to know when to ask for help.
- Aakwa’ode’ewin means Bravery. This teaching, represented by the bear teaches us to rise with integrity in the face of fear. “I face my fears with courage.” Bravery is the ability to conduct oneself and treat others with integrity.
- Gwekwaadziwin means Honesty. This sacred teaching, represented by the raven teaches us to understand who we are. “I live my life honestly and with integrity.” Honesty represents a person’s ability to take responsibility for their actions, decisions, choices.
- Nbwaakaawin means Wisdom. The beaver is representative of this teaching as he wisely takes care of family and the land. “I use my gifts wisely.” From here we develop our curiosity for knowledge.
- Debwewin means Truth. Represented by the turtle who carries the teachings on his back, this teaching wants us to be true to ourselves and others. “I speak my truth.” Truth is living the teachings in a good way miino piimatswin – The Good Life.
- Mnaadendimowin means Respect. This teaching is represented by the Buffalo who gives every part of itself to human way of life. Live honourably and mindfully. “I treat living things the way I wish to be treated.” Respect is honouring all of creation as part of us as we are part of it.
- Zaagidwin means Love. The eagle represents this teaching that is at the core of all the others. To know love is to love peace and know the creator. “I put love in all I do.” Love is at the centre of finding peace and engaging in a kind way with all creation.
For more information on these teachings and more, you can visit the following sites: