When nations are rebuilding and becoming strong again, sharing their ancestor’s ways and passing on knowledge to the next generation is a great place to start.
M’daa Kendaaswin – Anishinaabe Men’s Teachings provides readers with real-life samples of what living the Seven Grandfather Teachings looks like.
In my role as Publishing Manager for Ningwakwe Learning Press, I work with authors and editors. On this literacy project, I had the great fortune of hearing firsthand the words of some wise traditional Anishinaabe men in the making of this book. Their words are what I’d like to share with you today.
Vernon Roote shared:
I have some advice for young men, who are perhaps troubled and starting to fix their lives; who are looking at more stability in their families or perhaps even within themselves. Look at educating yourself with the teachings. Just understand them and start to live them. We still have those who have knowledge of our traditional way of life. We have knowledge of the Grandfather Teachings. They are not lost. We neglect to understand them.
We neglect to teach ourselves what they mean. We neglect to teach ourselves the language. We neglect to teach ourselves the ceremonies. We cannot blame the system. What we can look forward to is having the support mechanism to learn these things, so that the hope needed for our young men to understand this way of life is possible.
Wab Kinew added:
We have a wonderful gift – the gift of life. It is up to us to make the most of it and I find one of the most rewarding feelings you can have is the satisfaction of knowing you help those around you, whether it’s your kids or your community.
Helping others in our community is an effective way to make a difference. There are many children out there who lack support, love or even food in their homes. You can help make a difference in their lives by doing things like volunteering in drop-in centres. Many of our Elders need support too, as do people battling addictions. Finding a healthy way to work with them can help us all out. As the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh said, “Seek to make your life long and in the service of your people.”
For all of the issues present in our community, there is one solution – to raise a new generation of Anishinaabe people who know they are important enough to be healthy, feel good about themselves enough to achieve and who are strong enough to keep. We have the power to conquer all of the obstacles we face. We can do it together.
Miigwetch. Miigwetch ndikid.