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The Seven Teachings, Niizhwaaswi Gagiikwewin

Posted on January 7, 2021

The Seven Teachings, Niizhwaaswi Gagiikwewin, are seven values from the Anishinaabe tradition that guide us how to treat others and the earth, allowing us to live our lives well. You’ll find each of the seven teachings painted on a teepee here at FortWhyte Alive, designed by local Oji-Cree artist Jordan Stranger. Find it next time you’re on the trails!

Take some time to reflect on how many of these values you already possess and consider how you can incorporate each of the seven teachings into your life.

A tipi painted vibrant oranges and yellows represents the 7 Teachings.

Humility – Dbaadendiziwin 

Humility is represented by the wolf, who lives for his pack. From him we can learn to live selflessly, respect our place in the world, and praise the accomplishments of all. 


Bravery – Aakwa’ode’ewin

Bravery is represented by the bear, who has the courage to face her fears while protecting her young. Find your inner strength to face the difficulties of life, have the courage to be your authentic self, and defend what you believe in.


Love – Zaagidwin

Love is represented by the eagle, because he has the sight to see all ways of being. To know love is to know peace, as you’re able to understand all perspectives. 

An eagle sits on a tree branch in the fall.

Wisdom – Nbwaakaawin

Wisdom is represented by the beaver, who knows how to use his natural gift to survive. Use your inherent gifts to live your best life, and recognize your differences from others. Respect your limitations, and continuously learn by observing all around you.


Truth – Debwewin

Truth is represented by the turtle, who was here during the creation of Earth and carries teachings of life on his back. He understands the importance of both the journey and the destination, moving slowly and meticulously. To be truthful is to be true to yourself, being sincere in all that you do.

A turtle swims through wetlands

Honesty – Gwekwaadziwin

Honesty is represented by the sabe, who understands and accepts who they are. Be true to yourself by knowing who you are and not deceiving others. 


Respect – Mnaadendimowin

Respect is represented by the buffalo, who gives every part of himself to sustain human life. He understands balance and respects the needs of others. Like the bison, you should honour all living things, be mindful of the balance of life, and treat others the way you would like to be treated. 

A group of bison stand together in the snow.

Special thanks to Allen Sutherland, Waabishki Mazinazoot Mishtaatim, White Spotted Horse for sharing his knowledge of the seven sacred teachings with FortWhyte Alive.

FortWhyte Alive acknowledges our place on Treaty 1 Territory, the traditional lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree and Dakota as well as the National Homeland of the Red River Metis.