Seven Grandfather Teachings

The Seven Teachings

Among our many original instructions as Anishinaabeg, as well as among countless teachings and principles, are the Seven Grandfather Teachings. They were given to the Anishinaabeg to live in a good way, to live without conflict or contradiction, and to live in peace with all of our relations.

They are:

Debwewin:
“To Speak Only to the Extent We have Lived or Experienced.”
Deb: To a certain extent.
We: Sound through speech.
Win: Nominalizer. A way it is done.
It is commonly referred to as “Truth.”
Dabasendiziwin:
 “To Think Lower of Oneself (in Relation to All That Sustains Us).”
Dabas: Low, Lower.
End: Pertaining to thought.
Izi: State or Condition.
Win: Nominalizer. A way it is done.
It is commonly referred to as “Humility.”
Manaaji’idiwin:
 “To Go Easy on One Another”, meaning all of Creation.
Manaaji: To Go Easy on Someone.
Idi: In a Reciprocal Way.
Win: Nominalizer. A Way it is Done.
It is often referred to as “Respect.”
Zaagi’idiwin:
“Unconditional Love Between One Another”, meaning all of Creation – including humans and non-humans, seen and unseen, of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Zaag: To Emerge, to Come Out, to Flow Out.
Idi: In a Reciprocal Way.
Win: Nominalizer. A Way it is Done.
It is commonly referred to as “Love.”
Gwayakwaadiziwin:
“To Live Correctly and with Virtue.”
Gwayak: Correctly, Straightly, and Rightly.
Aadizi: He/She Lives.
Win: Nominalizer. A way it is done.
It is commonly referred to as “Honesty.”
Zoongide’ewin:
“To Live with a Solid, Strong Heart.”
Zoongi: Solid, Strong.
De’e: A Form of “Heart.”
Win: Nominalizer. A Way it is Done.
It is commonly referred to as “Bravery” or “Courage.”
Nibwaakaawin:
“To Live with Vision”
Waa: Pertaining to Sight.
Kaa: An Abundance
Win: Nominalizer. A way it is done.
It is commonly referred to as “Wisdom.”

Through our teachings and original instructions, including the Seven Grandfather Teachings, the Anishinaabeg seek Mino Bimaadiziwin. Mino Bimaadiziwin, the Good Life, describes a way of living in a good way, in a respectful relationship to all our relatives, and establishes a framework for Anishinaabe to live by which our ancestors envisioned as we make our way through this life.