Legal Affairs & Justice Unit: A Focus on the Seven Grandfather Teachings

Mar 28, 2023
Shining The Spotlight Issue14 WEBSITE LEGAL 05

The Legal Affairs & Justice Unit remains dedicated to advocating for the rights, security, and welfare of Indigenous women. To help achieve these goals, we are implementing the Seven Grandfather Teachings into our advocacy efforts. The Seven Grandfather Teachings—Wisdom, Love, Respect, Bravery, Honesty, Humility, and Truth—are fundamental to our mission as they place a strong emphasis on respect for one’s surroundings, other peoples, and the spiritual world.

The Seven Grandfather Teachings are Anishinaabe principles from which NWAC President Carol McBride has promised to lead the organization. The unit engaged in fulsome research to build internal documents to guide us in engaging the Seven Grandfather Teachings in our advocacy and workplace relationships. Our learning is grounded in President McBride’s guidance and in Eddie Benton-Benai’s The Mishomis Book: The Book of the Ojibway.

As guiding principles in our advocacy work to advance the rights of Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit, Transgender, and Gender-Diverse (WG2STGD+) People in areas such as child welfare, health care, education, and self-determination, NWAC is taking care to embed these teachings into both our daily work and into the solutions we develop.

The unit’s recognition of the Seven Grandfather Teachings is a modest yet key step in our work to defend the collective rights of Indigenous WG2STGD+ People. The intentional application of these ideas may be seen in the way we communicate internally and externally, as well as in how we keep these teachings in mind while engaged in group discussions. The Seven Grandfather Teachings are a poignant means of reminding us of our shared responsibility to respect, preserve, and defend the cultures, traditions, and values of Indigenous Peoples. The teachings remind us of our shared responsibility to make sure Indigenous WG2STGD+ People are valued, empowered, and safe.

The unit is currently developing further strategies and plans to ensure that the Seven Grandfather Teachings are fully implemented in all our efforts. We are taking into account the complex issues that Indigenous WG2STGD+ People face and are creating comprehensive plans to address these issues with the utmost care and respect. To ensure that the plans are effective in providing tangible and meaningful outcomes, we are actively engaging Indigenous WG2STGD+ People, their communities, and decision-makers in our daily work.

Our goal is for the Seven Grandfather Teachings to permeate our advocacy and shape our efforts in a meaningful way that protects, respects, and advances the rights of Indigenous WG2STGD+ People. We believe that by doing this, we will be able to create the changes necessary to ensure that the Indigenous Women of today and tomorrow are secure, safe, and respected.

To learn more about the Legal Affairs & Justice Unit‘s work, please visit our policy section for the latest updates on projects and initiatives.