Ojibwe Seven Teachings Star Map and Stories – University of Minnesota

Ojibwe Seven Teachings Star Map and Stories – University of Minnesota

Lesson submitted by Carolyn Olson (Art) of South Ridge School.

Students are constantly reading and learning about others’ inventions, ideas, and stories. It becomes an activity of observing history rather than being part of writing their own stories. In writing your own story, you determine what is important to share and what is true. If democracy is to sustain itself, we as a people need to know and be in charge of our own stories. Once we know and understand who we are, we can better relate to and understand other cultures and ways of living.

In a workshop on the Native American Star Map at the St. Cloud State Planetarium, I learned how American Indians interpreted and used the stars. I found that using the example of the Greek and Native Star Maps provides students another way to read the stars and interpret and include themselves in writing history.


  • Students will learn Greek and Native constellations and their corresponding stories.
  • Students will learn the Ojibwe Seven Teachings.
  • Students will write creative stories exemplifying the teachings.
  • Students will design and draw personal constellations on both a paper and scratchboard star map.

See related lesson plans, Native Night Skies and Seven Teachings.

Vocabulary Words

  • Aabita-niibino-giizis (July (Mid-summer Moon))
  • Ashi-bezhig (Eleven, 11)
  • Ashi-niizh (Twelve, 12)
  • Bezhig (One, 1)
  • Biboon (Winter)
  • Binaakwe-giizis (October (Falling Leaves Moon))
  • Boozhoo (Hello)
  • Dagwaagin (Fall, autumn)
  • Debwewiin (Truth)
  • Gashkadino-giizis (November (Freezing Moon))
  • Gichi-manidoo-giizis (January (Great Spirit Moon))
  • Gikendaasowin (Wisdom)
  • Gwayako bimaadiziwin (Honesty)
  • Iskigamizige-giizis (April)
  • Manidoo-giizisoons (December (Little Spirit Moon))
  • Manoominikie-giizis (August (Ricing Moon))
  • Midaaswi (Ten, 10)
  • Naanan (Five, 5)
  • Namebini-giizis (February (Sucker Fish Moon))
  • Nibwaakaawin (Humility)
  • Niibin (Summer)
  • Niiyo (Four, 4)
  • Niizh (Two, 2)
  • Niizhwaaswi (Seven, 7)
  • Ningodwaasoobii’igan (Six, 6)
  • Nishwaaswi (Eight, 8)
  • Niswi (Three, 3)
  • Ode-imini-giizis (June (Strawberry Moon))
  • Onaabani-giizis (March (Hard Crust on the Snow Moon))
  • Ozhiibwaadenidiwin (Respect)
  • Waabigoni-giizis (May (Flowering Moon))
  • Waatebagaa-giizis (September (Leaves Changing Color Moon))
  • Zaagi (Love)
  • Zhaangaswi (Nine, 9)
  • Ziigwan (Spring)
  • Zoongide’e (Bravery)