Character Education Program
The 7 Teachings form the foundation of our Character Education Program, a key part of teaching to help children develop as moral, well-mannered and successful members of the community. Each teaching outlines a vital aspect of human conduct towards others.
Buffalo = Respect
No animal was more important to the existence of Indigenous families than the buffalo. A single buffalo could provide food, shelter, clothing and utensils for daily living. First Nations people were true conservationists for they lived in a sustainable relationship with the buffalo and they believed themselves to be true caretakers of the great herds. Through this special relationship, the true spirit of Respect was understood.
The buffalo, through giving its life and sharing every part of its being, showed the deep respect it had for the people. This sustainable and mutual relationship with the buffalo resulted in a relationship that was a true expression of respect. This spirit of respect was shown toward all of life because Native people saw the interconnectedness to all life. They saw very clearly their dependence on the land. Therefore, the land and its resources were to be given absolute respect.
The Eagle = Love
The Eagle is truly respected and loved unconditionally. Love is considered the greatest and most powerful medicine and healing agent. Love all people and all creatures of the world and this love will be returned to you. The Eagle is the animal spirit that was chosen to represent the teaching of love because it is the one who could reach the highest in bringing vision to the seeker.
The Bear = Courage
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 vigour and intensity as a mother Bear protecting her cub. Living of the heart and living of the spirit is difficult, but the Bear’s example shows us how to face any danger to achieve these goals.
The Sabe = Honesty
The Sabe, which represents this teaching, symbolically reflects the understanding of honesty. The elders say that when you are honest and have nothing to hide or be ashamed of, your spirit is the size of the Sabe. When you lie or do something bad and hide it from the people, it affects your spirit, not allowing it to grow strong. It does not feel good when you know you have done wrong and hidden it. When one does this, it eats away at your spirit [conscience], suppressing it and not allowing it to grow strong. So in order to have a strong spirit we must be honest to ourselves and to others. To be truly honest was to keep the promises one made to the Creator, to others and to oneself.
The Beaver = Wisdom
The building of a community is entirely dependant on gifts given to each member of the community by the Great Spirit. These gifts must be utilized for the betterment of the community. The beaver represents that building. The beaver’s example of using his special gifts he has received, his sharp teeth for cutting trees and branches which he uses to building dams and lodges expresses this teaching. If the beaver did not use his gift to build, his teeth would grow and grow ultimately making it impossible for him to sustain himself and ultimately will lead to his demise. The beaver knows his gifts and uses them to the best of his abilities.
The Wolf = Humility
In the natural world, the wolf expresses this humbleness very clearly. The wolf lives within a pack of other wolves. The pack operates as a team. Each animal has a role within this pack to play. Several animals may be the hunters, some may be the protectors, some may be the nurturers and others may be the pups that follow, learn and grow. Each animal is not more important than the others as each animal must perform the role that it has for the survival and betterment of the pack. Each animal within the pack is very important thus none is better than the other.
When the wolf comes up to another larger creature, this animal will bow its head not out of fear, but out of humbleness. He humbles himself in your presence. A wolf that has hunted food will take this food back to the den to eat with the pack before he takes the first bite of food. The act of sharing from one animal to another is shown clearly with this example. The animal must share for the survival of the pack.
The Turtle = Truth
To know 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 are 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.