The Child Well-Being Working Group met on January 18-19 to share and discuss ideas and strengthen child well-being in the Anishinabek Nation.

By Marci Becking

AUNDECK OMNI KANING FIRST NATION – The Child Well-Being Law Working Group met Jan. 18-19 to share ideas and strengthen child well-being in our communities.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee says that the word Biinoji doesn’t just mean “child”.

“The Creator placed a Little Spirit here on Mother Earth and that it takes everyone – aunties, uncles, parents, grandparents and the community – to raise that spirit. This working group work is very important,” says Madahbee.  There is probably no one who hasn’t been impacted by Children’s Aid Societies and colonialism in general.  Colonizers did a few things to anywhere they uneducated, kept them in poverty and took the children.  ‘Get the Indian out of the Child’ that is all the policy and legislation has gotten us.”

When you know who you are and where you are from, you grow up as a stronger person.  Identity is important. We need to go visiting more and need to be more social.  We aren’t talking anymore.  The family is broken down. We need to maintain our family connectivity.  We need to keep our families intact.  CAS takes the kids out of the community.  Children who have been away for many years don’t know who they are.  They come back with baggage coming out of care.  Our Child Well-Being Law is a good solution to our child well-being needs.

So far, there are four communities who have submitted a Band Council Resolution stating that their First Nation is ready to move forward with the Child Well-Being Law.   These communities are: Algonquins of Pikwakanagan, Magnetawan First Nation, Nipissing First Nation, and Dokis First Nation.

Meetings are being booked now for any community who would like to hear more about the law.  To book, call Social Services Director Adrienne Pelletier at 705-497-9127 or email Adrienne.pelletier@anishinabek.ca