2015 Honoring Our Children Day – April 26th

1342-smallCALL TO ACTION

Honoring Our Children
April 26th – A Statewide Day of Celebration

The AFN Council for the Advancement of Alaska Natives (CAAN) and its members issue this statewide invitation for collaborative, individual, family and community action to celebrate and share our collective love, respect, and belief in our children.

This is the right time and we are the right people to get up and stand up for our kids.  This is an Alaska Native led event open to everyone; it is a grassroots initiative where all in our families and communities are welcome to participate so long as children are at the center.  The goal of this statewide effort is to bring us together so that we grow strong, culturally connected, empowered and loved children who are ready to lead us into the future.

The first Honoring Our Children event was focused on communities pulling together to honor their children. For the second year, we’d like to also invite individuals and families to use April 26th as a time to honor, love, and share quality time with kids.

 

PURPOSE

  • Celebrate and love our kids as families and a community; let them know that we are here for them and working to make things better on their behalf.
  • Foster stronger, healthier relationships by introducing our children to our community through families and kinship systems, so we know our relatives and community better; this will nurture our collective identity, strengthen our ancestral relationships, and empower more connected communities.
  • Share knowledge and expectations with our children about their role and importance in our families and communities, that we are standing beside them, that we want them to do their best, and that we are working together as a community to help ensure their success – in the words of our Elders, “we talk to you like this because we love you.”
  • Do something together that is strength based and not about ‘problems’, celebrating the bright light of our children in our families and communities. We can do this without creating a program, needing authorization or permission, or needing to establish complicated systems or bureaucracies to support this effort.
  • Come together to spend time, outside of school, work, and activities, to be social, engage with one another and promote our cultural connectivity.

OUTCOMES

  • Kids and families know themselves and each other better; we see how connected we are
  • Kids feel loved and cared for by their family and community; no matter what, they are precious to us
  • Adults feel more connected and protective over all the kids in their community; let’s be better, stronger, and healthier for them – collectively, culturally, as families and as individuals
  • Everyone – adults, children, relatives- understand their vital role within our families and communities
  • Information and opportunities for kids and families are shared and made available
  • Pathways for critical conversations in our families and communities are opened up
  • Healthier, more connected families and communities
  • Cultural knowledge exchange, language learning opportunities, and intergenerational relationship building

PROCESS

  • Create a statewide day of ceremony and celebration for our children.
  • Keep it simple. It should be organized in such a way as to not make it cumbersome or complex for families or communities.
  • This coordinated day is not a fundraiser for any organization, not affiliated with any political campaign and is non-partisan.

ORGANIZING FRAMEWORK

  • When: April 26th
  • Where: Statewide
  • Who:  This statewide effort is led by Alaska Natives and is inclusive all those who are part of our community – regardless of race, cultural background, or heritage.
  • We want parents, kids, siblings, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, Elders, leaders, clan members, neighbors, employers, activity leaders, and anyone else who cares about kids to participate.
  • Each person, family, and/or community can sign up to participate –it’s super easy– and then organize, post via social media, or host simple conversations, social media outreach, potlucks or free events focused on Honoring Our Children.
  • Structure for Individuals: Commit to spending time with kids in your life or community on April 26th, either in person, digitally (facetime, skype etc), or via social media (facebook, Instagram, tumblr, vine, etc).  Make a plan for what you will do to honor and celebrate them.  Do things that both share messages about the children’s importance to you, share cultural and/or kinship knowledge with them, tell them stories about their peoples, and also spend time doing something fun to celebrate their importance in your life.  A few simple ideas include making a short video message to share with the kids in your life via email or social media or if you are in person, have a potluck at your home and make time to share these messages.
  • Structure for Family and Community Events: Each family and community can determine the best way to achieve the purpose and outcomes noted above. There are two main components for:
    • 1) Ceremony (with children at the center of the doing) being intentional about creating opportunity for families and communities to honor their children. Some Ideas include having an Elder talk about the important role of children in the community, have leaders share high expectations, or provide space to introduce the children and share who is related to who and how.
    • 2) Celebration (fun and free), with an emphasis on fun cultural activities, like singing and dancing, storytelling, food sharing, going for knowledge hikes, doing a cultural treasure hunt, etc.
  • This is a grassroots effort and participants are asked to keep this event meaningful and not overly complicated. The intent of the Honoring Our Children Day is to do something we already have the ability to do, power, and love to do; and helps us work across the state to affirm for our children their important roles in our families and communities.

TO PARTICPATE GO TO:

If you are interested in participating and/or organizing an event register here:  Honoring Our Children Online Registration.

  • Those without access to internet may also register by contacting the Statewide Coordinator.

CONTACT THE STATEWIDE COORDINATOR FOR IDEAS, QUESTIONS, OR HELP WITH THIS EFFORT:

  • First Alaskans Institute, 606 E Street, Ste 200, Anchorage, AK 99501, info@firstalaskans.org.
  • Point of Contact: Heather Gatti, 907-677-1703, HeatherGatti@firstalaskans.org
    • The Statewide Coordinator will track locations, develop connectivity plan (communications, social media, broadcast, etc.), help connect communities, partners and sponsors, and create/share materials
    • The Statewide Coordinator will host informational teleconferences to help inspire and connect participation across the state

INFORMATIONAL MEETING SCHEDULE:  Call 1-800-528-2793; Participant Code: 938782

  • Friday, April 17th at 12pm
  • Monday, April 20th at 12pm
  • Wednesday, April 21st at 12pm
  • Friday, April 23rd at 12pm