Aakode’wein

Painting of dancers, bear and dreamcatcher

Aakode’wein
Bravery: the Courage to be Yourself
Language: Anishinaabe
Nation: Ojibway
(Room 408)

The Seven Grandfathers tell us that the Creator says

Each of these 7 teachings must be used with the rest; you cannot have wisdom without love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth…to leave one out is to embrace the opposite of what that teaching is.

This painting in particular validates the strength and courage that those who have come before us have modelled. The men and women dancers bring balance to each other, while in the background the Bear—a symbol of courage as per our traditional teachings—is a reminder that our bravery is always within us. Our inner bear gives us the strength to face the hardships of life, while still having the courage to be ourselves; to defend what we believe in, and what is right our community, family and self.

Artist: Scott Rigby, age 41

My name is Scott Rigby, and I am 41 years old. My mother is of Cree/Irish descent, and was abandoned because she was not accepted by her First Nations community due to her mixed blood. Aboriginal social history, and its intergenerational impacts have affected me and my family greatly; it has personally stunted my identity. The opportunity to be a part of this project is therapeutic for me. To be involved in my culture in a way that is positive is invaluable to me.