Zaagi’idiwin

Painting: two hummingbirds and heart

Zaagi’idiwin
Love: Coming Together As One
Language: Anishinaabe
Nation: Ojibway
(Room 405)

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.

To know true love is to know peace. This painting represents the teaching of Love. Although the Eagle is the animal symbol for this teaching, the hummingbirds were chosen because it is also a spirit animal in Aboriginal spirituality. The hummingbird symbolizes the enjoyment of life and lightness of being; they teach us to lift up negativity wherever it creeps in, and express love more fully in our daily endeavours.

Artist: Austin Elijah, age 25

I am from Southwold Ontario, Oneida Nation, and I am a film maker and musician. In the community I make short films about my language and culture. Making those films made me proud of what I was doing for my community, and who I am representing in my heritage to show to future generations. That is what these paintings mean to me; they are something to show to those who come after me. I want to preserve my culture, almost like I am a warrior saving my people. It’s a good feeling; that’s what these paintings are giving me. I am proud and honoured to be asked to use my talents from the Creator in this way. To Queen’s University, I am so thankful.