Gifts of the Seven Grandfathers

Native American Virtues Courage/Bravery

By: Paul Lipko ShumoNaki Carden

As we continue our series on Native American Virtues and the Seven Gifts of the Grandfathers. This weeks discussion covers the gift, or virtue, of “Courage or Bravery”.  We must learn to face obstacles or fears with complete trust in Creator, that he will guide and provide for us in times of uncertainty.

BRAVERY is to face foe with integrity.

Proverbs 3: 5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Native American Bear PawConsider the bear. A mother bear isn’t fierce because of her size. A horse is a large creature, but
do we fear horses? No, in general we see the horse as a trusted friend and helper. They carry us on their backs, pull heavy loads, and work alongside us. A horse will run from perceived danger, and lead her young from harms way when possible. A mother bear, on the other hand, shows courage and has the strength to face her fears or challenges while protecting her young. This does not mean that she goes looking for trouble, or even that she attacks everything in her path. The mother bear does however, have the courage to stand up to any real threat that invades her territory or threatens her young. Bravery is represented by the bear, because she shows us how to live a balanced life, with rest, survival, gentleness and play.

Matthew 6: 25

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

Our path is not set forth at birth. Our actions define our path. We choose the path we will take in life, based on the choices we make in every situation we encounter. When we choose to allow Creator to guide our path, we can grow in Spiritual strength and live in peace and balance, as the bear lives. When it’s time for us to grow, we cannot grow unless we go through something. Creator is always going to give us challenges, to get us to where we need to be. Challenges are given, to get us ready for the next step in our journey. Face them with courage. Sometime challenges may seem overwhelming, and this is when a fire needs to be lit to get us moving.

“You will never be more than a shepherd if Goliath never comes into your life”.

It is in these times that Creator is waiting for us to ask for guidance to find our inner strength to face the difficulties of life and the courage to be ones self. Defend what you believe in and what is right for your community, family and self. Make positive choices and have conviction in your decisions.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Courage is the ability to face our own heart. Put our feelings to the side, find peace and serenity. Know that Creator will take care of us. To face life with courage is to know bravery. Courage is the ability to face danger, fear or changes with confidence and bravery.

“These are our times and our responsibilities. Every human being has a sacred duty to protect the welfare of our Mother Earth, from whom all life comes. In order to do this, we must recognize the enemy – the one within us. We must begin with ourselves…”

— Leon Shenandoah, ONONDAGA

Creator, give me the courage as I begin this day, to understand the work you have called me to do, to recognize the burdens to be carried, feelings to be shared, and joys to be celebrated. Grant me the courage to be silent, that I might hear your voice and follow the path that you have laid before me. And when the day ends, Creator, help me to see how you have led me, guiding me in the choices I have made, and the strength that has been given. Aho