by Katherena Vermette
illustrated by Irene Kuziw
The Seven Sacred Teachings are a group of teachings that originated with the Anishnaabe of North America. These teachings have been adopted by many Indigenous peoples. Said to have come from the grandfathers, or wisdom keepers, and varying slightly between tribal groups, the teachings are guidelines to live by and consider in every aspect of a person’s life. The Seven Sacred Teachings are universal concepts. Most Indigenous students will already be familiar with some if not all of the teachings, and basic questioning about familiarity with these topics always leads to interesting conversation.
As with any deeply rooted cultural practice, it is always best to go to the experts. If elders or traditional knowledge keepers are not available, the wide usage of the Seven Sacred Teachings leads to several resources readily available for further research. You can also compare these teachings with other values-based curriculum, such as the Virtues Project.
Download the pdf. Seven Teachings Activity
Display the teachings and the corresponding animal name on chart paper. Discuss the Seven Sacred Teachings with your students, and explain that each teaching has an animal that shows, or teaches, that teaching.
For Younger Students
Print out and cut apart the pdf into word and animal cards. Assign students to pairs, and provide each pair with a full set (shuffled). Have pairs sort and match, or play a memory game.
For Older Students
Provide students with a copy of the pdf. Individually or in groups, have students access the online Cree dictionary (<www.creedictionary.com/search>) and find the Cree word for each animal. Students can then convert the Cree words into syllabics, and copy onto the pdf chart in the space provided.
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