Dr. Catherine Nutting, Family Nurse Practitioner, Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine
I recently visited the National Museum of The American Indian. I was impressed by the well-thought out values the Native American culture intentionally passes down through the generations. One Native American tradition is to pass wisdom down through the generations through The Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers, including spending four days each spring in the teaching lodges focusing on these teachings. The seven gifts of focus in Native American culture include honesty, love, courage, truth, wisdom, humility, and respect. These gifts help people live in harmony with nature and benefit the global world.
Different animals represent each of the seven teachings. The Beaver, Nbaakaawin, represents wisdom of the past. The bird, Sagiitiwin, represents love and encourages love of self and others. The Buffalo Man, Chiitiwin, symbolizes respect for all creation. The Bear, Soongi Tayay Win, symbolizes courage, power, and fearlessness. The Raven or Wilderness Man, Sabe, or raven represents pure honesty. The Wolf, Dbaadendiziwin, symbolizes humility and finding the place where we belong in the universe. Finally, the turtle, Debwewin, represents truth that never changes.
I think it is important that we be intentional in the values we wish to pass onto our children. Several years ago our family wrote a mission statement together which articulated the values and beliefs that are important to our family. The process of creating this mission statement was as valuable as the final product, sparking many family discussions. Our mission statement has been on display since then to remind us often of what is important to our family.
I encourage our wholistic community to spend some time with your families intentionally discussing what is important to you, and perhaps even creating your own family mission statement, or seven gifts, to pass on to future generations. Also, during this valentine’s month, try to be open to the Sagiitiwin’s teachings to love and care for your self as it helps us be more loving persons to each other.
As an example, here is our family’s mission statement –
Nutting Family Mission Statement
- We build and enjoy a family culture which fosters spiritual growth, family relationships and financial independence.
- We live by values of integrity, freedom of choice and a love of all people.
- We strive to keep commitments to each other and to ourselves.
- We plan for the future but we live in the present.
- We celebrate personal and family successes no matter how small.
- We make decisions to the best of our abilities and accept the consequences of those decisions.
- We keep our minds and body health and strong to prepare for the challenges of life.
- We realize that no object is too large to overcome with the help of God and each other.
- We help others the best we can and thank God and those who help us along the way.
- We are the Nutting Family Members.
Chris, Cathy, Kyle, Chelsea, Victor, Max and Keegan