June 21 is National Aboriginal Day. Every June, Canadians celebrate National Aboriginal History Month to honour the heritage, contributions and cultures of First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities across Canada.
Kinomaage Debwewin is a group of dedicated Peel CAS colleagues who work together to support Indigenous children, youth and families through education and advocacy. Kinomaage Debwewin is a translation from Ojibway’s Anishinaabemowin language and means teaching truth. To commemorate National Aboriginal Day, Kinomaage Debwewin asks us to reflect on our knowledge:
How much do we know of the past history of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and present events and facts that are taking place in Canada today?
Kinomaage Debwewin challenges us to think about the above question because child welfare has a long history of involvement with First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. The residential school system is a period in Canadian history when large numbers of Indigenous children were taken into care, severing the connection between children and their parents, community, and culture over many generations. We need to reflect on the events of the past to move forward in a respectful and healthy relationship with indigenous communities.
A great site to learn more is the Canadian government website of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Are you aware of the services and programs offered by Peel Aboriginal Network (PAN)? An indigenous friendship centre, they host a variety of services to meet the needs of indigenous youth and families including legal services, homelessness support, employment counseling, youth services, and traditional healing and wellness practices.
The word Kinomaage encompasses everything that surrounds teaching and learning; learning is life long, learning from our mistakes, mentoring; guiding and I can learn from you and you can learn from me. “Debwewin” has the root word of “heart” which speaks of the “heart language” of which is the truth and how we carry that truth in our everyday life.
Watch the following video from Family and Children's Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington on Reconciliation.