THUNDER BAY – LIVING – Honouring our Children Day, first celebrated by Tikinagan Child and Family Services in 2009, honours children in Tikinagan’s care and acknowledge the strength, bravery and resilience shown by these children and youth in the face of difficult times.
“It’s not easy growing up away from family and being separated, especially when you lose your language. It gets tough at times. Most days I’ve had people supporting me and they kept pushing until I finally let them. I’m glad they did because it showed me that people cared and that there are good people out there” said Ty Strang, member of Tikinagan’s Youth Know Team.
Honouring Our Children Day celebrates the accomplishments of our children and youth, intentionally timed right around the end of the school year to acknowledge their hard work and efforts through the year. It is a time to remind our children that they are special, supported and cared for by their community.
“Children should be as respected as elders. They’re the next generation, after our elders have passed” said the Youth Know Team.
The Y outhK now T eam is Tikinagan’s youth advisory team. This team is formed with youths from our 30 First Nations and supports Tikinagan by providing input about youth culture, social media, living in their communities, and even about Tikinagan.
On Honouring Our Children Day, the Youth Know Team want our communities to show that they are there for their youth.
“It’s okay to be afraid of the world because the world is scary, and some see the reality too early (abuse). There’s always someone out there who is willing to be brave with you, whether online or in person.”
This day is an opportunity for our communities to come together to show our children that they are part of their circle of care.
Honouring Our Children Day is also a celebration of our philosophy of care – Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin, which means “everyone working together to raise our children.” Our communities come together to celebrate and show our children they work together to raise, support and be there for them.
“It’s okay to ask for help and youth shouldn’t be embarrassed. A lot of people get scared to ask for help because they don’t know how the adults will react or if they’ll do anything” said the Youth Know Team.
Each of our 30 First Nations will celebrate in different ways including cook outs and community wide celebrations. Tikinagan Child and Family Services will be holding two art contests open to youth from our 30 First Nations.
Our YouthKnow Team is still growing. We want to engage, empower, and equip our First Nation youth by hearing their ideas, utilizing their skills, and challenging them as leaders. If you are a youth (up to the age 26) from one of Tikinagan’s 30 First Nation Communities, go to Tikinagan.org for more information.
More information about Honouring Our Children Day can be found at Tikinagan.org/HOCDAY
We encourage all our communities to celebrate Honouring Our Children Day on June 24th or any day they see fit this summer. We hope that you take the time to let the children in your life know how important they are to you and to their community.