Gifts of the 7 Grandfathers in Work, School, and a Modern World

The Gifts of the 7 Grandfathers is an age-old piece of true Indigenous wisdom, sometimes called the Lessons of the 7 Grandfathers. By understanding these 7 Gifts and utilizing them daily, we can grow as individuals in meaningful, sometimes surprising, ways. The basics are easy to grasp, sure. Taking them to heart and turning them into a roadmap for living your life is challenging in today’s world. Challenging is not impossible, and growing as a person allows us to each add our wisdom and knowledge in a more meaningful way to the world in general.


1. Humility

Humility is represented by the wolf.

For the wolf, life is lived for his pack and the ultimate shame is to be an outcast. Humility is to know that you are a sacred part of creation. Live life selflessly and not selfishly. Respect your place and carry your pride with your people. Praise the accomplishments of all. Do not become arrogant and self-important.

Find balance within yourself and all living things.

2. Bravery

Bravery is represented by the bear.

The mother bear has the courage and strength to face her fears and challenges while protecting her young. The bear also shows us how to live a balanced life with rest, survival, and play. To face life with courage is to know bravery. Find your inner strength to face the difficulties of life and the courage to be yourself. Defend what you believe in and what is right for your community, family, and self.

Make positive choices and have conviction in your decisions. Face your fears to allow yourself to live your life.

3. Honesty

Honesty is represented by the raven or the sabe.

They both understand who they are and how to walk in their life. “Sabe reminds us to be ourselves and not someone we are not. An honest person is said to walk tall like Kitchi-Sabe. Like Kitchi-Sabe, Raven accepts himself and knows how to use his gift. He does not seek the power, speed, or beauty of others. He uses what he has been given to survive and thrive. So must you.”

To walk through life with integrity is to know honesty. Be honest with yourself. Recognize and accept who you are. Accept and use the gifts you have been given. Do not seek to deceive yourself or others.

4. Wisdom

The beaver represents wisdom because he uses his natural gift wisely for his survival.

The beaver also alters his environment in a friendly and sustainable way for the benefit of his family. To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom. Use your inherit gifts wisely and live your life by them. Recognize your differences and those of others in a kind and respectful way. 

Continuously observe the life of all things around you. Listen with clarity and a sound mind. Respect your own limitations and those of all of your surroundings. Allow yourself to learn and live by your wisdom.

5. Truth

Truth is represented by the turtle as he was here during the creation of the Earth and carries the teachings of life on his back.

The turtle lives life slowly and meticulously because he understands the importance of both the journey and the destination. Truth is to know all of these things. Apply faith and trust in your teachings. Show honor and sincerity in all that you say and do.

Understand your place in life and apply that understanding in the way that you walk. Be true to yourself and to all other things.

6. Respect

Respect is represented by the buffalo.

The buffalo gives every part of its being to sustain the human way of living, not because he is of less value but because he respects the balance and needs of others. To honor all creation is to have respect. Life honorably in teachings and in your actions towards all things. Do not waste, and be mindful of the balance of all living things. Share and give away what you do not need. 

Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Do not be hurtful to yourself or others.

7. Love

The eagle represents love because he has the strength to carry all of the teachings.

The eagle has the ability to fly the highest and closest to the Creator, and also has the sight to see all the ways of being from great distances. The eagle’s teaching of love can be found in the core of all teachings, therefore an eagle feather is considered the highest honor and a sacred gift. 

To know love is to know peace. View your inner self from the perspective of all teachings. This is to know love and to truly love yourself. Then you will be at peace with yourself, the balance of life, all things, and also with the Creator.

Teachings in the Modern World

Even though these gifts date back to ancient times, they still have a place in the modern world. Even today, you may hear phrases like “karma”, “what comes around goes around”, or even “you get what you give”. These phrases all point to a resounding belief across the world that the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers are still relevant.

Indeed, today’s modern world makes practicing some gifts fairly easy through charity work or day-to-day interactions. Even so, our modern world can also make practicing other gifts even more difficult to do every day.  

Regardless of how difficult it is, we should always seek to use all of the gifts together, for what is love without respect and truth? What is bravery without wisdom and respect?

Each of these teachings must be used with the rest. To leave one out is to embrace the opposite of what the teaching is.


You can download a resource that I created as a slideshow at this link: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1K7XM3TJt-0rg1h-yF0PSoGDZhev4FEYlXBshhWWJfmc/edit?usp=sharing


Be the first to know when there are any updates or sales!

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

Hi, I’m Kristen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.