The Six Aims

Compiled and Transcribed by Dave “Buckeye” Garberson, NLL Great Elder

Regarding the Six Aims of the Native Sons and Daghters Programs, when National Longhouse (NLL) was formed in 2002, June Friday MacInnes, Ojiwa Indian and eldest neice of the great Joe “Ahtik” Friday, gifted to NLL, three parts of Ojibway traditon. These traditions, in the forms of documents, teachings and recollections, have historical significance surrounding the Six Aims. Some might say that these are directions of life, as we aim ourselves in our hunt for survivial just as Ojibway Indian and founder Joe Friday did. Joe Friday gave these aims to the Indian Guide program all those years ago in the 1920’s.

The First, written by June Friday-MacInnis, explains each of the Aims as to how the Ojibway people would teach their heritage within their tribal peoples. This document of the Six Aims and their Ojibway traditional meanings is contained in the Native Sons and Daughters Member’s Handbook, but also reprinted here.

The Six Aims

By June Friday MacInnis and Joseph “Ahtik” Friday

Always Be Friends With Your Father/Son: (color Black)

Joe’s lost relationship with his father, and then his new found one with Chief White Bear was the basic foundation of that Aim. (Chief White Bear took in Joe’s family when Joe’s father died, when Joe was the age of 10.

Clean in Body, Pure in Heart: (color White)

Here the traditional ways of Ojibway people, with their Purification Ceremonies, the use of Sweat Lodges, and the understanding of the Medicine Wheel are involved. The cleansing and purification of self in the body and heart are proposed.

Love the Sacred Circle of Your Family: (color Red)

We are all a part of the Great Circle of Life. Nothing comes between the extended family relations, as when Joe Friday and family were taken in by Chief White Bear.

Love My Neighbor As Yourself: (color Blue)

Being good and kind to neighbors has always been an Ojibway way among its people. They share their wealth in food, jobs, and basic needs in housing and clothing. No one would go hungry or ever be cold or unloved within the Ojibway people.

Be Attentive (Listen) While Others Speak: (color Yellow)

Basic rule of Respect For Elders and those who are trusted with knowledge and experience prevails with this Aim. The basic means of discipline of the children, in paying attention, not just listening stated here too. The Talking Stick was part of that tradition in the Ojibway ways.

Seek and Preserve the Beauty of the Great Spirit’s Work, in Forest, Field and Stream: (color Green)

Seemingly the most obvious for the Ojibway values as their territory was full of forests, fields and waterways. All were needed for survival. Reverence and thanks to God, the Creator. The Great Spirit has always been most important in giving thanks to God for what they have been given (food, clothing, and shelter) by Him. The offer of tobacco was always left when their needs were satisfied by the gifts from the Great Spirit, as with a successful hunt, planting season, or bountiful harvest. To preserve them is thought to be giving back to the Creator what was given to us.

The Second, more of a recollection or teaching that describes The Six Aims (directions), in each of these we understand the important ways the One Ojibway Nation people, including the Cree, Chippewa and Algonquin peoples gave thanks and honor to the Creator, the Great Spirit, The Great One, our God. This was done through honor and tradition that bind this One Ojiwa Nation, God and His gifts to His people.

As the Elders stood in a circle, the ceremonial pipe was lit. Each took turns, taking a puff then holding the tobacco bowl in the left hand and holding the other end in the right hand, pointing the stem to each of the directions one at a time, turning their body to each direction as they call out each direction like (i.e) “Father Sky-Listen while he speaks” and so on. It was a great honor to be a part of that group, to perform this honor ceremony to the Six Aims (directions).

The Third, based in traditions, indicates that in addition to the meanings of The Six Aims there are also colors for each as well. Traditional uses may be a color feather given for display or the color bead for decoration, or a color to paint on your wigwam or tipi or vest to honor the spirited message of each Aim. Some decorate their walking stick, honor staff, or coup stick for each Aim. Some would place special colors near their dwelling on their pony before a hunt. Some women would add color to their dresses as honors. The color are listed with the Six Aims above.

Mrs. MacInnis reminded us when she told of the Ojibway honors and traditions, that they are realized through their use of prayers, songs, dances, art and ceremonies. Their understandings would be read to to the people in a circle near the campfire so all adults and children together would grow up with this tradition and honor. These Six Aims are a guide for living each day.