Articles, Blog

Acting on Our Ethics: Caring for Anishinaabe Children


[Anishinaabe greeting] My name is Bruce Beardy. I am the Anishinaabe artist who created paintings for the Ontario College of Teachers for their ethical standards. I hope you enjoy this resource and you pass on the learning. Care is looking after a child with compassion and love. Showing them, you know, like this is what the caregiver is giving. The Anishinaabe family or the community of the Anishinaabe people are involved in that learning process of a child. And to be able to witness the growth of the child as well and to make sure that the child is prepared as he or she is growing up. It’s all about holistic, you know you need to work with everybody in the community to be able to learn. People decided to stay behind and help raise their own children, have their own families and work in the community. And others decide to go back to their communities and give back of what they learned or taught. And many I’ve known to become nurses and they go back to their community and be able to help with their community members. The children feel good about themselves, knowing that the community is helping them out. In my case, I felt really good about it because I felt the love of the people that I grew up with, and the people that were looking after me. Basically, the greatest lesson that I’ve learned from others is to care. Using the words to teach respect is almost impossible, is what I think. You know you have to show respect. So if you’re in a classroom and you’re very respectful to the children, they’ll learn to respect you as well. So basically, similarly, in the Anishinaabe culture, nobody tells me, ok you know you have to respect this. It’s a matter of showing it and as you grow up and gather knowledge and from the teachings of the elders and from the community members than we are lead to the respect of many things, whether it’s the environment and other people. We must respect the profession’s that people own. We must respect the cultural values of others. We must respect the social justice and we must respect the confidentiality of other people. Being respected is a beautiful thing. Trust is about, be able to get along with other people and to feel safe within your environment and within the family and within the general, the community that you reside in. Trust is something that you give and also gain at the same time. Trust is about honesty, about being truthful, about things, your experiences and these are the things that you are going to pass on to the people that you associate with. And we open our hearts and our minds about things and basically that makes us trustworthy. In the Anishinaabe culture we measure integrity by following the Seven Grandfather Teachings. There’s humility, love, respect, wisdom, courage, honesty and truth. Any culture practices these Grandfather Teachings, you know you care for your child, then you know you have to accept humility to move on, to be able to learn from, from that. It’s about having a brave heart, courage, for example, you show love for the family or the child in the community. And it’s a group kind of thing, something similar to a wolfpack, it’s a group thing that provides the family support and leadership and as well, protect each other. By following these teachings a person grows to learn integrity.

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