This introduction to the Anishinaabe traditional of totem animals, young children express why they identify with different animals such as a bear, deer, beaver, owl, and fox, through a series of simple poems. The importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can act as animal guides for students seeking to understand themselves and others, is also discussed.
Why use this book?
- demonstrates the importance of, and relationship to, animals in a different culture
- highlights the human-animal bond in a unique way
- showcases animals as sentient beings, having feelings and emotions, similar to humans
Things to Note (taken from Author’s Note):
- Animal totems are known as animal guides, with the selection of totems in this book acting as guides to help students identify the positive character traits of familiar animals.
- Students may associate with different animal guides throughout their lives, it is commonly believed that one animal acts as a main guide.
- The human-animal connection can be shared through a number of ways including physical interaction, dreams, mutual characteristic and/or personal interest.
Ask your students:
- What do you think it means to ‘sometimes feel like a fox’? Have you ever felt like a fox?
- What animal can you relate to and why?
- Do animals have feelings? How can you tell?
- What is a totem animal?
- Who can have a totem animal?
- Have students think of their favourite animal and ask: What can you learn from your favourite animal? What are the animal characteristics that you can relate to? What are the animal characteristics that can help you grow? (loyalty, patience, how to be a good friend, etc)
- Indigenous Corporate Training has additional information on the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and animals
- Edmonton Mayor, Don Iveson, reading Sometimes I Feel Like A Fox for ‘The Mayor Reads‘