“MINO PIMADIZIWIN” “GOOD LIFE “
We have to take care of the earth or we will not have a home. We all share in this responsibility. We need to make sure that the earth and everything the Creator put on this earth will always be here for future generation. Each morning let us remember to greet our grandmothers and grandfathers, whose spirits are in; the many glories that surround us. They taught us as they had been taught by the elders, how to take care of the earth. We are straying away from the teachings given to us. Our young people do not pray and give thanksgiving. Our priorities are all messed up. We need to know the teachings of our grandmothers and grandfathers to give us direction and balance. Our leaders are young; they also need to listen and learn. We need their participation…TO TAKE CARE OF THE EARTH AND LIFE. WE NEED TO REMEMBER THE TEACHINGS OF THE FIRST ELDER, WHO HAS HANDED ON THE GIFTS OF KNOWLEDGE THAT HE RECEIVED FROM: THE SEVEN GRANDFATHERS WHEN HE WAS A BOY. EACH GRANDFATHER GAVE HIM A GIFT.
|Anishinaabe Culture and Spirituality|
Anishinaabe people had their own way of communicating with the Creator, long before any other human being was in this continent. The sacred spirituality teachings were passed on generation to generation based on Gizhemanidoo’s Creation. When missionaries and settlers came into our traditional territory with their Christianity and introduced alcohol to Anishinaabe, that’s when problems started. Many gifted traditional healers started to use alcohol and misused their sacred medicine to hurt others. Missionaries condemned our spiritual ceremonies practices because they didn’t understand our Anishinaabe culture and spirituality. Even the Government of Canada used prejudice assimilation and colonization policies to destroy Anishinaabe culture and spirituality but failed.
When Creator gave Anishinaabe the inherent right to the land and all Creation, we are obligated to conduct spiritual ceremonies to all living things that are on this earth. The trees, plants, water, wind, all animals, the winged, the four legged, all creatures and insects. Our Ancestors learnt to honour and feast all natural resources that’s on the earth, at every changed season. We need to learn the teachings ourselves first and teach our children and grandchildren to say thank you to the Creator for caring for us and being part of the land and the Creation. Anishinaabe teaching is never to take anything for granted especially when it’s a Creation of the Creator. We need to do special ceremony to show respect to the Creator’s Creation for taking the life of an animal or using the herbal medicines.
For generations the sacred legends were passed on from elders to children, the teachings about the spirit of animals and plants. Our Ancestors learnt the teachings from their fasting vision quests that the fish, moose, deer, geese and other edible animals and the medicines in animal oils, in plants, roots and barks all have spirits with spiritual powers to heal. This is the reason why Anishinaabe traditional medicine works on Anishinaabe people. And also this is why there are many sightings of Sabay(big foot)in NAN communities because people are using traditional herbal medicines. Sabay works for the spirits and he looks for the medicines for the spirits and takes care of the land. Also non-Anishinaabe people are starting to use herbal medicines and they are interested to learn about Anishinaabe culture.
In the sacred legend teachings the animals gave up their lives for Anishinaabe people so we can sustain and live. Through a vision quest the animals requested a special spiritual ceremony for their spirit when killed. Anishinaabe people are obligated to show respect for taking the life of an animal and the spirit. The old traditional teaching is when taking the life of an animal or when using traditional medicines Anishinaabe is responsible to return the spirit back to the earth. The sacred spiritual teachings were very powerful and it really affected the well being of the individual and that was the spirituality way of life for Anishinaabe people. The elders had many sacred legends they used as a spiritual teachings to all ages especially to children. Today I still see the spiritual teachings practiced while hunting and trapping with a traditional or Christian person. Spirituality is important to Anishinaabe culture and traditions because we are connected and part of the sacred land and Creation. Many people still question who we are, what is Anishinaabe?
WHAT IS ANISHINAABE SPIRITUALITY?
- THE FIRST FAMILY; SUN,MOON,EARTH AND THE SKY
- INHERENT RIGHT OF LAND
- DIFFERENT DIALECT OF ANISHINAABE LANGUAGES
- ANISHINAABE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
- ANISHINAABE IDENTITY (CLAN SYSTEM, NAMING CEREMONY, INDIVIDUAL COLOURS, ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES as parents, grandparents, elders
- HONOURING ANIMALS THAT LIVE FROM THE WATER
- HONOURING WATER SPIRIT
- HONOURING ANIMALS THAT GAVE UP THEIR LIVES FOR ANISHINAABEK
- HONOURING LAND THAT GIVES LIFE
- HONOURING THE PLANTS AND TREES THAT GIVES MEDICINES
- HONOUR THE WIND SPIRIT
- DIFFERENT CEREMONIES FOR CHILDREN,WOMEN, MEN AND ELDERS
- HONOURING WOMEN WHO ARE CARRIERS OF LIFE
- THE TEACHINGS FROM THE LAND
- THE ANIMAL SPIRIT TEACHINGS
- ANIHINABEK’S TEACHERS ARE THE ANIMALS THAT LIVED IN HARMONY BEFORE HUMAN
- THE ANIMAL SPIRITS THAT CARRY “THE SEVEN GRANDFATHER TEACHINGS”
- SABAY (BIGFOOT)”HONESTY”
- EAGLES SPIRIT “LOVE”
- TURTLE SPIRIT “TRUTH”
- BEAR SPIRIT “BRAVERY”
- WOLF SPIRIT “HUMILITY”
- BEAVER SPIRIT “WISDOM”
- BUFFALO SPIRIT “RESPECT”
- THE LEGENDS ARE OUR ANCESTOR TEACHINGS
- THE MEDICINE WHEEL TEACHINGS
- THE EARTH(OUR MOTHER)CEREMONIES
- THE SUN(OUR GRANDFATHER)CEREMONIES
- THE MOON (OUR GRANDMOTHER)CEREMONIES
- THE SKY(OUR FATHER) CEREMONIES
- HONOURING SACRED ITEMS; PIPE,DRUM, MEDICINES, SACRED FIRE, SWEATLODGE AND ALL OTHER ITEMS WE CARRY AS ANISHINAABEK
- ELDERS, GRANDPARENTS, PARENTS RESPONSIBILITIES
- MOST PRECIOUS GIFT FROM THE CREATOR IS OUR CHILDREN,GRANDCHILDREN,GREAT GRANDCHILDREN
- MANY MORE
It is time for our Chief and Council to focus on our ANISHINAABE CULTURE AND TRADITIONAL SPIRITUALITY because we are Anishinaabe with inherent right to land and we are recognized as Earth Keepers in a spirit world. The spirituality inherent right of land responsibility given to Anishinaabek is forgotten in every community, we need to integrate ANISHINAABE CULTURE AND TRADITIONAL SPIRITUALITY in all of our community services for future generation to come and prepare our grandchildren and great grandchildren for better future.
The healing in the communities will not start until Anishinaabe spirituality issue is address and traditional healing process is initiated. The youth are crying for help by committing suicide and nobody seems to hear them. The youth and children are the ones that are suffering because we are too ignorant to learn about our own culture and identity. The Chiefs and Band Councils of all First Nations communities are responsible to bring this matter to Nishnawbe Aski Nations leadership agenda. I challenge every Chief in Nishnawbe Aski Nation to start practicing their Anishinaabe spiritual belief to secure and protect the land for their people in the traditional territory of Nishnawbe Aski. Every Chief says we have the inherent right of land in Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory. Do they really know what they mean?