Educating in the Seventh Fire: Debwewin, Mino-bimaadiziwin, and Ecological Justice

Marc Kruse, Nicolas Tanchuk, Robert Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Anishinaabe Seven Fires Creation Story can be read as a theory on which all human beings share a fundamental love of reflecting reality in what they think and do. In this article, Marc Kruse, Nicolas Tanchuk, and Robert Hamilton argue that this ethical theory is correct but that the colonial ideology taught in our schools can obscure our knowledge of this fact. Specifically, the authors claim that decolonizing education requires teaching students and teachers alike to see the presence of value whenever they encounter other beings animated by a responsiveness to reality. All living things strive to perceive and respond to reality — to live and continue to learn — even if epistemic faculties differ. All living things, then, the authors conclude, are rightly seen as our relatives and kin, as bearers of value to whom we owe moral respect, as Anishinaabe elders have long taught.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-601
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Theory
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anishinaabe
  • Creation Story
  • debwewin
  • decolonizing education
  • environmental ethics
  • Indigenous philosophy
  • Mino-bimaadiziwin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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