Seven Grandfather Teachings

The Seven Grandfather Teachings have always been a part of the Native American culture. Their roots date back to the beginning of time. These teachings impact our surroundings, along with providing guidance toward our actions to one another.

According to the story, long ago, a messenger sent to see how the Neshnabék were living, discovered that the Neshnabék were living their life in a negative way, which impacted their thoughts, decisions, and actions. Some had hate for others, displayed disrespectful actions, were afraid, told lies, and cheated. Others revealed pride or were full of shame. During his journey, the messenger came across a child. This child was chosen to be taught by the Seven Grandfathers to live a good life. He was taught the lessons of Love, Respect, Bravery, Truth, Honesty, Humility, and Wisdom.

Before departing from the Seven Grandfathers, they told him, “Each of these teachings must be used with the rest. You cannot have Wisdom without Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth. You cannot be Honest if you are only using one of the other teachings. To leave out one teaching would be embracing the opposite of what the teaching means.” The Seven Grandfathers each instructed the child with a principle. It was then up to the child to forget them, or to put them to use.

Each one of us represents the child. We must faithfully apply the teachings of our Seven Grandfathers to our own lives. We must place our trust in the Creator. We must also never forget to be sincere in our actions, character, and words.

Please click on each of the Seven Grandfather Teachings below to learn more.



The Medicine Wheel is broken up into four sections. Each section contains one of the Four Sacred Medicines. These Sacred Medicines include Tobacco (Séma), Cedar (Skhop), Sage (Wabshkebyak), and Sweet Grass (Wishpemishkos).

Each Direction has a main animal or bird. The East has the Eagle with its helper, the Mouse. The South has the Deer with its helper, the Turtle. The West has the Bison with its helper, the Black Bear. The North has the Polar Bear with its helper, the Snow Owl.

The East section of the Medicine Wheel represents the Spring months. During this time, we must show appreciation for TobaccoEarth, and infants. The South section represents the Summer months. We must give honor to CedarWind, and teenagers. The West section represents the Fall months. During this time, we must show appreciation for SageWater, and middle-aged adults. The North section of the Medicine Wheel represents the Winter months. We must give honor to Sweet GrassFire, and Elders.

Developed in consultation with the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi.

Partially funded by Battle Creek Community Foundation, supported by KCC and the Historical Society of Battle Creek.