A Walpole Island artist has created a wooden carving, illustrating the Seven Grandfather Teachings, which is now on display in Ontario’s Legislative Chamber.
Provincial officials say the chamber contains a number of intricate wood carvings inspired by medieval symbolism.
“These pieces are beautiful and historically significant, but they lack representation from the Indigenous people in Ontario,” Provincial officials say.
“A new carving, illustrating the Seven Grandfather Teachings and created by Indigenous artist Garrett Nahdee, was recently added to the Chamber. This carving will serve as a permanent reminder of the history of Indigenous people in Ontario and symbolize new connections, relationships, and opportunities being fostered today.”
Nahdee is a self-taught artist from Walpole Island First Nation.
He served as an active-duty United States Marine for four years, participating in humanitarian missions, Provincial officials say.
After his honourable discharge from the Marines, he spent five years as a truck driver, travelling all across Canada and the United States.
It was in his truck that he first started drawing.
Realizing he had a passion for art, he soon started painting and carving.
He began getting requests to create custom pieces, and is now a full-time professional artist.
In regards to the Seven Grandfather Teachings, Nahdee says they are “great leadership traits, and when they are practiced in everyday life, you will see changes in your life.
“Burdens will be lifted, and bitterness will deplete. Uplifting your spirit to soar to another level of progress. I truly believe in the Seven Grandfather Teachings, and teach them when I can,” Nahdee said.
“Let’s begin with eagle, the spirit of Love. Through one’s journey living through Love, one will gain Respect, and with love will respect others. So with Love and Respect, we abide in the Truth. Being true to oneself will bring Humility. Humility is a reflection of Wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge, which guides you to be humble. In the end, it takes Courage to be Honest, Courage to defend the Truth, Courage to always Respect and Love all of Mother Earth’s gifts.”
More details about the Seven Grandfather Teachings:
The Seven Grandfather Teachings are a set of guiding principles that give people the tools for how to live a good life.
They have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years through stories and ceremonies.
There were Seven Grandfathers who were given the responsibility by the Creator to watch over the Earth’s people.
They saw that life was not good, so they sent a helper, the Oshkabaywis, to walk among the people and bring them someone who could be taught how to live in harmony with Creation.
Six times the Oshkabaywis tried to find a person worthy enough to bring back to the Seven Grandfathers, and six times the spirit failed.
On the seventh journey to Earth, the Oshkabaywis travelled to each of the four directions, and eventually came upon a village and heard about a baby boy who had just been born.
The spirit realized that this baby was the one he should take to the Seven Grandfathers, as his mind was innocent.
The Oshkabaywis took the baby back to the Seven Grandfathers and they were happy with his choice.
However, they thought the baby was too weak to hear their message as he was, and instructed the Oshkabaywis to take him to see all of Creation so that when he returned to the Seven Grandfathers, he would be ready to understand and share their message with the rest of humankind.
It took seven years for the Oshkabaywis and the baby to visit all corners of Creation, and when they returned, the baby was now a little boy of seven years old with a sharp and curious mind.
The Seven Grandfathers each gave the child a gift – a teaching – to share with the Earth’s people.
The otter was asked to help the little boy complete his journey back to Earth.
Along the way, the otter and the boy met seven spirits, each of whom taught the boy that for each gift there was an opposite, and he would have to be careful to instruct humankind on how to use the teaching correctly.
During his journey back to Earth, the boy grew into an adult, and by the time he reached his village, he was an old man.
All the people gathered around him, and he told them of his journey to the Seven Grandfathers, and then gave them the seven gifts.
He explained to the people the dangers that came with each gift, and how to use them properly.
With these gifts, the people of Earth built up the strength to face life’s hard tasks.
They were able to develop a balance to live in harmony with all of Creation.
More details about the carving and about the Seven Grandfather Teachings can be found, here.