I’ve been studying the Seven Sacred Teachings. Anton Treuer, Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University, loaned me a book written by David Bouchard and Dr. Joseph Martin. Bouchard, explains, ““The Seven Sacred Teachings” is a message of traditional values and hope for the future. The Teachings are universal to most First Nation [American Indian] people.” Bouchard’s web site: http://www.davidbouchard.com/mtw/sst.pdf
In studying the background of the Teachings I was amazed to discover that they have passed down countless generations through oral storytelling since around the time Christ was born. The “Seven Sacred Teachings” is the Indian touchstone to individual growth and responsibility, and strong community. The “Teachings” and the Ten Commandments of Christianity come from what both cultures respect—one Creator.
After Red Lake Nation elder Eugene Stillday invited me to speak at the 2012 Veterans Day ceremony I began thinking, what should I talk about? I called Eugene and he invited me up to Ponemah to discuss it. Eugene introduced me to another Red Lake elder, Larry Stillday. Larry and I discovered we had something in common—we had both served in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. Larry introduced me to the Seven Sacred Teachings.
I was amazed by what I learned. I had grown up on a farm near Red Lake Nation and attended grade school in Nebish. Over the years, I attended school in Blackduck and Bemidji. Now, for many years, I have attended Bemidji State University as a part-time student. In my sixty-five years, I had never heard of the Teachings. For those who are not familiar with northern Minnesota, we have a very large Ojibwe Indian population and three reservations in our region. Perhaps it’s time to devote time in our schools to learn about the Seven Sacred Teachings—there always seems to be time to learn about Cortez, Columbus, and the Pilgrims.
Each day, I am awed at how little I know.
It’s been a busy autumn. October 30th I visited with BSU history students who are using Muddy Jungle Rivers this semester as a text book. Saturday, November 3rd Patti and I have a book signing at Opener Art Festival, hosted at the Sanford Center in Bemidji. Lakeland TV, Channel 9, Common Ground will air a Muddy Jungle Rivers interview on November 6th, at 6:00 pm. (I’ll be up against Romney and Obama that night.) November 11, the interview will air again.
November 11th, I’m honored to be guest speaker at Red Lake Nation for the Veterans Day ceremony. I find my psychology class at BSU fascinating as I begin to learn how and what motivates human behavior. I find it ironic that as I learn about the Seven Sacred Teachings we are about to celebrate another Thanksgiving.