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FortWhyte Alive

Honouring the Seven Teachings

Seven Teachings signage in the Touch Museum

The Seven Teachings, Niizhwaaswi Gagiikwewin, also called the Seven Grandfather Teachings, come from the Anishinaabe Midewiwin tradition. The Anishinaabe believe that to follow these teachings with oneself, with each other, and with the Earth (Aki), is to live in a good way.

As we continue on the journey of reconciliation and inclusion of Indigenous perspectives at FortWhyte Alive, we welcomed Allen Sutherland, Waabishki Mazinazoot Mishtaatim, White Spotted Horse, to share in his knowledge of these seven sacred teachings.

Allen, an elder who is Saulteaux from Skownan First Nation, spent an afternoon with a class of grade five and six students from Wellington School speaking to how to live in a good way and sharing stories of the seven animals associated with the teachings and the values they intrinsically represent.

Elder Allen Sutherland shares his knowledge with grade 5/6 students from Wellington school

Grade 5/6 students from Wellington school learn about the Seven Teachings and the animals they represent

With the support of Wellington School teachers Cathy Woods and Jon Paintin, students produced silk screening images of each animal. With consultation with Indigenous language experts, new interpretive signs with seven teachings and art were created and placed in FortWhyte Alive’s Touch Museum. Students were welcomed back to FortWhyte’s Touch Museum for a field trip this Spring to see their artwork unveiled.

Student artwork is displayed in the Touch Museum

The signs provide an opportunity for guests to learn about, or to connect with their own, indigenous culture and beliefs during their visit at FortWhyte Alive.

FortWhyte Alive would like to recognize and thank all involved with this project, especially the young artists.

FortWhyte Alive consulted with speakers of three Indigenous languages: Cree (Nehiyawak), Ojibway (Anishinaabe), and Dakota, who provided names for the animals.

Boozhoo niiji, bindigin! (Hello friend, come in!)

Student poses with her silkscreen of a beaver

Student poses with his silkscreen of a turtle

Student poses with her silkscreen of a wolf

Grade 5/6 students from Wellington School pose outside at FortWhyte Alive

FortWhyte Alive acknowledges our place on Treaty 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree and Dakota as well as the Birthplace of the Metis Nation and the Heart of the Metis Homeland.


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