Aboriginal children : the healing power of cultural identity

After viewing the Lee Brown video, I was particularly interested in reading more about linkages between cultural identity and educational success. During my reading I came across a Public Health Agency of Canada Website entitled: Aboriginal Children: the healing power of cultural identity.

This site describes several aboriginal initiatives across Canada that are working to promote cultural identity in Aboriginal children, the devastating effects of past injustices such as residential schools, how communities are working together to help restore identity, and the importance of elders to the processes. The site concludes byoffering the following list of suggestions aimed to foster a child’s sense of identity:

  • Learn as much as you can about the specific culture of the child – its traditions, strengths and challenges. Aboriginal cultures are diverse (there are approximately 50 different Aboriginal cultural groups in Canada) and there is also diversity within each community.
  • Try to balance the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the child.
  • Support the child to learn and maintain his traditional language.
  • Provide regular opportunities for her to take part in traditional activities. Fish, gather berries, prepare and eat traditional foods together.
  • Provide regular opportunities for him to take part in community events. Attend ceremonial and ritual events.
  • Encourage meaningful interaction with Elders from her community. Children can learn respect and wisdom from Elders.
  • Support him to learn traditional stories and legends.
  • Provide her with books, videos, traditional games, dance and music that reinforce her traditional, family and daily life.
  • Speak frankly to him about discrimination.
  • Network with other Aboriginal parents, colleagues and Elders to share experiences and ideas.



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