S – Sabé and the seventh teaching


The following is  my own story based on what I know about the Seven Grandfather Teachings of the Anishinaabe.  I have written it as a way to tell my students about one of the symbols used to help identify one of the teachings that would help the People live well-balanced lifes in harmony with all.

northern colourc

It was a time when The People had forgotten the lessons of the past. They had forgotten what helps were given to them when first they came to live on Mother Earth. They had forgotten how to live at peace with each other and their world.

In sad but caring hope for the People, the Creator sent the Messenger into the dreams of a child whose heart was open to hear. The child accepted the quest in the dream and journeyed in each direction before he came upon the house of the grandfathers. Here he was taught what his people should know to live in harmony. Seven grandfathers shared their special teachings with him. These he took back to his people.

The grandfathers knew our brothers and sisters beyond our villages held characteristics to help us remember these teaching so calling all the animals together. Looking out on the gathering of animals they considered each one.

Wisdom was found in the beaver knowing its teeth had give it a certain purpose and how to use the resources around him for shelter and protection. Love found its symbol in the eagle‘s care for his young and flight nearest to the Creator. Respect lived in the full giving of the Bison to the People. Courage was seen in the powerful protection of a mother bear. Humility was honoured by the wolf who works for the good of the pack.The turtle, grounded in ancient laws of creation, was the perfect representative for Truth.

The seventh grandfather looked around. Which creature had within it the symbolism that would help humans remember Honesty? And then he saw standing quietly just within the edge of the trees the Sabé.

Now you have probably heard more tales of his relatives — the Yeti or Sasquash, but the Sabé was the one who shared the low forest areas known to the People. He was one who had helped the People learn the ways of the land when first they came.

Sabé collage

Sabé photo collage, L.J. Andres

Saddened by the chaos in his land, but caring for his many brothers and sisters, Sabé had come to hear the verdicts of the grandfathers. Yet knowing he was neither fully human or animal he stood quietly among the trees, watching, but not stepping forward.

The grandfather smiled and beckoned the Sabé. “You are the one who will be the symbol of honesty for the People,” declared the grandfather. “You know who you are and accept your true form. You do not claim to be anything but what you are, yet you use all that you have to help your earth family and to honour mother earth.”

“Though you choose to live in the silence, let those of your relatives know that man must see you from time to time. It is you who are given the task of reminding them to be true to their natural form, to be who they are meant to be.”

The Sabé looked into the grandfather’s eyes there in that day when all creatures could speak, but said not a word. He would be who he was created to be. The grandfather had spoken. With a nod, Sabé turned and made his way back among the trees.



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