#51 Practice for a week dream catcher using the 7 Grandfather’s Teachings
Updated: 3 days ago
By Christy | The Practicing Pro
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September 30th marks a new Canadian national holiday - National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
See Blog #50 for 10 ways to teach your child/students about diversity (including using music)
This practicing activity will help you to teach your children/students about diversity AND practice at the same time. This activity is based on the Indigenous teachings of the 7 Grandfathers.
First, a little more about this important day - National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day take place on September 30th.
Orange Shirt Day is an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day to recognize and raise awareness surrounding the history of the residential school system and to honour it's victims. The reason an orange shirt was chosen is a nod to the experience of Phyllis Webstad, a Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap) from the Stswecem'c Xgat'tem First Nation. On her first day attending a residential school, she arrived dressed in a new orange shirt, which was promptly taken from her by the staff of the school. The orange shirt is now symbolic of cultural genocide and the confiscation of freedom, abolishment of self-esteem and denial of respect experienced by Indigenous people over generations.
On September 30th, Canadians are encouraged to wear orange to raise awareness of the tragic impact the infamous residential school program inflicted on the Indigenous population, and to honour it's thousands of victims.
This is an important day for remembrance and reconciliation.
What are some ways that you can show respect on this important holiday with your students/children?
You can find the time for quiet reflection and learn more about Indigenous traditions and cultures. For instance, you could visit the library and borrow books on Indigenous topics, or purchase children’s books from a bookstore or online that are written and/or illustrated by local Indigenous authors and artists. You can also participate in your local National Day for Truth and Reconciliation community events.
I have created an activity for you to learn all about the 7 Grandfathers' teachings while you practice over 7 days.
In Indigenous culture, the 7 Grandfathers were assigned by the Creator to watch over the people on Turtle Island (the Indigenous name for Earth or North America). These 7 Grandfathers saw that the way the Ojibway people were living on Turtle Island was not as positive and healthy as it could be. They sent for a messenger to find someone to teach how the Ojibway people should live their life. Six attempts were made to find someone, but they failed each time. On the seventh try, they found a baby, which they brought to the 7 Grandfathers. The Grandfathers decided to teach this child how the Ojibway should lead their lives. They traveled the world teaching him their lessons. They were gone for seven years. Once they returned, the Grandfathers gifted this child, now a young man, 7 teachings to take with him in life - Nibwaakaawin—Wisdom, Zaagi’idiwin—Love, Minaadendamowin—Respect, Aakode’ewin—Bravery, Gwayakwaadiziwin—Honesty, Dabaadendiziwin—Humility and Debwewin—Truth.
Teach your child or student about the story of the 7 Grandfathers and talk about why it's lessons are important. Then, every day for one week, you can focus on each of the 7 lessons. After practice on each day, give your student or child one of the feathers that represents a teaching.
After discussing the teaching of the 7 Grandfathers, hang the feather representing this gift on your dream catcher.
Print the dream catcher and feathers on white card stock or regular paper and glue onto something more sturdy like a poster board. A recycled cereal box is also perfect! Cut out the dream catch and each of the 7 feathers. You can colour in the dream catcher and each of the feathers.
Punch 7 holes along the bottom of the circle, and at the end of each feather.
Each day after a great practice, tie a new feather to your dream catcher and learn about that gift. Talk about it all day long. At the end of the week, learn all about dream catchers - do you know the five parts of a dream catcher and what they represent?
Free download practice activity
Making multiple dreamcatchers
For teachers making this activity for multiple students - you can print a whole sheet of each of the feathers.
Free download bulk feathers for teachers
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