I AM a Kind Man Youth Site Kids Site Kanawayhitowin - our Sister site

Bravery is about the courage it takes to confront and look at influences on our behaviour. This teaching tell us about men and boy’s original responsibilities.

Bravery Is To Face The Foe With Integrity

Responsibilities of Young Men

We are all involved in the development of young people in our community and are responsible for how they grow and expand into their full potential. It can be as simple as touching a young person’s life for one moment of one day, or listening to their stories or dreams that can transform a current life path of hurt and pain into one of self-reliance and responsibility.

It is our way to share the responsibility of learning and teaching within our societies even if a young person may not be a blood relative. We come from a community of close communal living which means in order to survive everyone lived as unique individuals committed to the whole community at large. Role modeling was very important and males were shown acceptable behaviour for being in harmony with community; this involved accountability (being responsible for actions) and being in touch with his environment (emotionally connected and being at ease with that connection). These ways were modeled to young boys by; male family members, fathers, uncles or grandparents, all older male community members took part in this learning/teaching relationship.

When we give this gift of self-reliance to our young men, we give the greatest gift of all. The ability to move in the world with ease and confidence and to know they can have a positive impact on their families, interpersonal relationships and be part of a community of change. This can be done by speaking up and patiently modeling positive and inclusive behaviour to our young men, or simply taking the time to be a friend to a young person. The knowledge we have only needs to be re-learned. It has been forgotten but not totally lost. This is how the leaders of tomorrow are built by starting here in our private circle of influence, watching as our influence ripples outward reinforcing those males of tomorrow who “Use their strength with responsibility”.

Challenge Social Norms

Sexist jokes and language help create a world where forms of violence and abuse have too long been accepted. Words that put women and girls down reflect a society that has historically placed Aboriginal women in a third class position. By reflecting this reality they once again put women “in their place” even if that isn’t the intention.

One of the most difficult things for men is to learn to challenge other men, to challenge sexist language, to challenge men who talk lightly of violence against Aboriginal women and to challenge men who act violently.

 Original Man's Responsibilities

When the Earth was young, it is said that the Earth was female, therefore it has been passed down through our cultural teachings that woman proceeded man on Earth. She is called Mother Earth because all things are born from her, the rivers and oceans are her blood system and water flows through her nourishing her. When the Earth was young she was filled with the beauty of the four sacred directions (which hold both physical and spiritual powers) and all life on Earth.

When the first man meets his future wife who is Firekeeper’s Daughter he experiences feelings he has never felt before. He never forgets her and when he meets her later they become married in a sacred ceremony. The love and respect flows between them equally. First man remembers when he first met Firekeeper’s Daughter and how beautiful she was in the light of the setting sun. He decides he wants to help preserve her beauty by taking on certain responsibilities that will make her life easier. In this way, first man took on the duties of a more strenuous nature that were necessary for survival as well as protecting his family, community and all life.

Compiled from The Mishomis Book, Edward Benton-Banai, 1998

Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres Pallas Communications