The Seven Sacred Teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman, also known as the Seven Grandfather Teachings, are shared, valued and practised by many indigenous peoples.
Each of the Seven Sacred Teachings honours the virtues necessary for a full and healthy life. Each of the Teachings is embodied by an animal to underscore the point that all actions and decisions made by man are manifest on a physical plain. The animal world taught man how to live close to the earth; the connection that has been established between the animal world and the world of man instills a respect for all life in those who follow the traditional way.
These seven teachings are all aspects of our emotional, spiritual and physical and intellectual development. Many Native people follow the seven sacred teachings to help live their lives in balance and harmony. The seven sacred teachings include:
Wisdom: is knowing the outcome of your actions before you act, it is understanding the difference between the ideals of Good and Evil, it is the knowledge that what you do, what you say, what you don’t do or say is important. Everything matters, because this moment leads you into the next and therefore everything is vital.
Love: is unconditional and in being so it is given without asking for anything in return, it is given when the person you love is weak, because that is when they need it the most, it is shown when you fight, because it is then that love can be doubted.
Respect: is given to others without the expectation that it will be given back, respect is the act of respecting someone in the face of their rage, bitterness, callousness, and unjust behavior, and respect is showing respect when they are respectful of you when you are at your worst. Respect is honoring their healthy beliefs even if yours are different, and it is acknowledging their right to freewill and thereby choice to be right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy, respect is also being so for your own self.
Bravery: is to do the right thing even if you know it’s going to hurt you, it is being true to who you are no matter what may happen to you, it is facing the future on your own healthy terms. Perhaps the bravest thing anyone can do in their life is to ask for help when they need it, then again it maybe to change their mind and do the right thing before it is too late even if that means they stand alone.
Honesty: is the act of being honest with yourself about who you really are, it is about being honest about what you do and why you do it, it is about being honest with your aspirations for your physical, spiritual, psychological and emotional lives. Honesty begins and ends with you, from within it flows to affect all those around you and thus the world in which you live, for we all hold within us the cause and effect of our environmental worlds.
Humility: is coming to understand that you don’t know everything for anyone but yourself, and it is also knowing that to unlock that knowledge you may have to look with out yourself first and then look within. Humility is recognizing that sometimes you’re wrong, even when everything tells you that you are right, it is being penitent, and it is accepting success with pride and not arrogance. Humility is allowing others to speak and act even if you could do so just as well, about knowing that sometimes what you want needs to be set aside for the needs of another.
Truth: is to speak the truth even when you don’t wish to, to walk through life truthfully with yourself and with others, it is to live with truth in your heart, soul, mind and body, and it is to learn what being true is for you and you alone. It is the ability coupled with the willingness to recognize the truth in the physical actions of another as well as their emotional, psychological and spiritual actions along with your own.