This is a series of 7 paintings based on the seven sacred teachings. It is produced by Donna Langhorne, Anishinaabe artist based out of Air Ronge, Saskatchewan. Each painting is a representation of one sacred teaching, one spirit animal and an issue that Indigenous people live with today. This series will be accompanied by a write-up that you can print and frame alongside the 11"x14" prints of the artwork. These paintings are also available individually and as originals in this webstore. The originals are much larger sizes.
The descriptions for these paintings follow:
Love [Eagle]: For Residential School Survivors
The emotional and cultural scars of residential school experience run deep. This Vision depicts many of the tell-tale signs of that trauma - the attire of the students, their religious indoctrination, the muting of their voice and loss of language, their cut hair, the memorialization through hand prints and testimony markers for those who did not survive. In the face of this cultural genocide, generations were robbed of their cultural identity. Yet we are still here and determined to be re-energized by love – for ourselves, our families and our communities. In this way, the Sacred Teaching of Love serves as a healing force for the victims of the residential school experience. Love is here symbolized by the Eagle with the embrace of its outstretched wings, drawing the spirit of these victims upwards to a future of renewed hope.
Respect [Buffalo]: For Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
This Vision connects the teaching of Respect, symbolized by the life-sustaining Buffalo, as a means of healing the deep personal and cultural trauma inflicted on Indigenous women and girls. It teaches us the importance of dignifying these vulnerable women who were treated by their predators as faceless, nameless, dehumanized objects. Love plays a critical role to this end; thus, the image of the eagle is enveloped by the Buffalo. The hand prints acknowledge the individuality of those never found. Including reference to the ‘red dress’ movement, the Vision speaks to conditions where these women are at peace, their loss not in vain but, rather, serving as seeds for a safer, beautifully uplifting future.
Humility [Wolf]: For Our Cultural Sovereignty
Sovereignty is an expression of self-determination and cultural autonomy. The damage at the hands of colonial forces to cultural heritage, including loss of language, artifacts, ceremony and traditions, has greatly undermined our capacity to act as sovereign Nations. The future of our cultural integrity requires earnest community effort and individual humility. Why humility? The ways of the wolf help us to understand and guide us forward. As a pack animal, the wolf shows humility by bowing its head in deference to the collective interests of the pack. Each of us individually must bow to tradition, bow to protocol, bow to our way of life. In this Vision, the central wolf figure is the collective voice of the community seeking to preserve cultural traditions. The love of community is a motivating feature; hence, the eagle occupies the wolf’s heart. The pack is comforted by the presence of the Northern Lights, the dancing spirits of our ancestors and the sign from Creator of concern for our well-being.
Honesty [Raven]: For Victims of Addiction
So many of our families have suffered from the devastating force of addiction. So many of our youth continue to be caught in its destructive web, whether through drugs or alcohol. The lone handprint in this Vision signals the hopelessness for those who succumb to addiction. Yet, like the mythical giant Kitchi-Sabe, our spirit is fortified when we honestly take stock of our own strengths and use them to survive. The mischievous and prophetic Raven of mythology is an apt symbol for such honesty, since it acts as a liberator of those in captivity and a bringer of light. In this Vision, it is Honesty in the form of the Raven that rekindles the spirit needed to break free from the clutches of addiction. A spirit of love tempers the trickster nature of the Raven – can you spot an eagle among the flock?
Wisdom [Beaver]: For our Leaders
Wisdom is the application of knowledge for beneficial outcomes. The Beaver well exemplifies this quality. It uses its teeth to acquire the material for habitat construction, and modifies its ecology in the process. Failure to do so renders its overgrown teeth useless and puts its well-being in jeopardy. In this Vision, the Beaver is the inspiration that preserves the integrity of our leadership - our chiefs, elders and knowledge keepers - in the ongoing battle for sovereignty and the protection of our many traditions. The scene is framed by the richness of the environment, which flourishes when the course of wisdom is followed and, as evidenced by the presence of the eagle, lovingly applied.
Truth [Turtle]: For our Environment
The Turtle is considered a truth teller because its shell mirrors the realities of the female four-week cycle and thirteen lunar month experience. The parallel truth of this Vision is clearly brandished, and echoed through the serpentine temptation of greed, industrial pollution, commercial exploitation of the environment, and the complicity of Government. Spurred to action by our women, the silhouetted figures rise up in protest, idling no more, and draw strength in their love for justice from the Eagle feather.
Courage [Bear]: For Our Future
How do we cultivate the courage to face our fears and overcome the barriers that hold us back from moving forward, individually and collectively? The Bear is a powerful symbol of courage as it fights to protect its own. In this Vision, the spirit of Courage leads us from the static canvas to a future of hope and integrity. As it does so it protects the vulnerable by absorbing whatever threatens safety and well-being, as represented by the serpent. All Sacred Teachings are at work here … together they form the foundation, the imprint, to lift us out of our cultural doldrums and into a future of restoration, revitalization, and reconciliation.
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