New made-in-Manitoba animated series brings sacred Indigenous teachings to life

A new animated series aims to educate Manitobans about the seven sacred laws, a set of traditional Indigenous teachings.

The Seven Sacred Laws is a web series written by Elder David Courchene and directed by Erica Daniels

A still from The Seven Sacred Laws, an animated web series that is meant to educate Manitobans on a set of traditional teachings through the voices of Indigenous peoples. (Turtle Lodge/YouTube)

A new animated series aims to educate Manitobans about a set of traditional Indigenous teachings.

The Seven Sacred Laws is series of three- to four-minute vignettes, which follow an Indigenous boy as he embarks on a spiritual journey and meets the seven sacred animals who deliver lessons about each teaching. 

"This is a great opportunity to educate people about who we truly are, and I'm just so honoured that I was able to be a part of this project and help bring it to life," said Erica Daniels, a filmmaker from Peguis First Nation who directed the series and acted as co-writer with Anishinaabe Elder David Courchene.

The seven sacred laws are teachings or values represented by different animals that offer guidance on how we should live our lives, that are practised by Indigenous nations across North America. 

Each teaching is represented by a different sacred animal: the buffalo (respect), the eagle (love), the bear (courage), the sabé or bigfoot (honesty), the beaver (wisdom), the wolf (humility) and the turtle (truth). 

A still from The Seven Sacred Laws. The series follows a young Indigenous boy as he goes on a spiritual journey where he learns about the teachings from various animal guides. (Turtle Lodge/YouTube)

Daniels said she hopes the series, which can be viewed online now at the Manitoba 150 website or on YouTube, will be used in schools and widely shared, and will help young Indigenous people learn about their culture.

She also hopes it will educate non-Indigenous people about important Indigenous teachings, "and showcase what a beautiful culture that our people come from and what we represent, and the values that we are honoured to live by."

LISTEN | Erica Daniels on bringing the seven sacred laws to life: 

Each video has been released in English, French, and Anishinaabe. 

The animated films, created by Manitoba's Peg City Pictures Inc., were released by the Manitoba 150 Host Committee — a group formed to oversee events to celebrate Manitoba's 150th birthday in 2020 — in partnership with the Turtle Lodge International Centre for Indigenous Education and Wellness and IG Wealth Management.

Watch a promo clip for the series below: 

With files from Jenn Allen