If you were at Hunting Moon Pow Wow in Wisconsin this year you might have caught a glimpse of two characters most First Nations kids are familiar with. Since 2006, the adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws have been making children laugh with their wacky adventures. But they've also been teaching them some valuable lessons.
Rabbit and Bear Paws, two brothers, are the main characters of a comic series set in 1750’s colonized North America. Using Traditional Native Teachings and humor, the stories are based on THE SEVEN FIRES PROPHECIES and THE SEVEN GRANDFATHERS. For those that don't know The Seven Grandfather Teachings are: Courage, Wisdom, Honesty, Truth, Humility, Respect and Love.
From the website:
The Anishinabek were the middle-men of the Fur trading era. So the Anishinabek would have traveled and traded with other Nations the same goods that they traded with the French and the English. The idea is to have the family – Rabbit, Bear Paws, Clover Blossom and Grey Stone visit other communities sharing with our audiences how native peoples worked out their differences peacefully when challenges arose. At the same time the stories show how we all learn from each other and that we need to help each other out, including the new neighbours (Europeans).
The characters will travel to different parts of the country, from coast to coast in new humorous adventures. In those adventures we will learn about the different cultures and the gifts that they contributed to modern society.
The creators of the series also made puppets to go along with the comics. These puppets travel to pow wows, schools and other community gatherings to bring laughter and values to the kids.
Here's a clip from one of their presentations:
Rabbit and Bear Paws is a collaborative effort, but the idea for the series was inspired by one of the creators' grandfathers. Chad Solomon is a member of the Henvey Inlet, First Nation. As a child, he and his family would visit with his late grandparents in the French River Ontario area. His grandfather Art Solomon, a traditional healer and justice activist would spend his time building wooden toys and playing with Chad and his siblings. Even in winter Art would go tobogganing with them. Learning from his grandfather, that no matter how old you become, you should always be young-at-heart and that laughter is the greatest medicine. This is the spirit behind the comical Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws series.
Their sixth graphic novel will be released next month and will be based on the Teachings of TRUTH. Currently the books are available in English, French and Anishinabemowin. There are possible future plans to also have them translated into Mi'kmaq and Haudenosaunee (Mohawk)!
For more information about the comic series and how you might be able to incorporate the Seven Grandfather Teachings in your home, please visit Rabbit and Bear Paws online at http://rabbitandbearpaws.com/ .
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