Honoring Our Children Day

 

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On April 26th, across the state, communities will rise as one to Honor 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 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.

PURPOSE

  • Celebrate and love our kids as 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 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 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 the 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 communities
  • Information and opportunities for kids and families are shared and made available
  • Everyone gets something, giveaways, food, gifts etc
  • Pathways for critical conversations in our communities are opened up
  • Healthier, more connected communities
  • Cultural knowledge exchange, language learning opportunities, and intergenerational relationship building

PROCESS

  • Create a coordinated, 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, complex or costly for communities to participate.
  • Invite communities to participate and organize their own event that supports the purposes and achieves the outcomes noted above. Find creative ways to incorporate this unifying effort into already scheduled events.
  • Events will be free and communities will seek donations for facility use, food, goodies to give away, and, where needed, find funding or sponsorship support (although the intent is for this to be low-to-no cost).
  • Funders & those interested in helping financially support the effort are invited and encouraged to voluntarily step forward to help with their communities efforts – the Statewide Coordinator can put you in contact with them
  • 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.

o   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.

o   Each community signs up to participate and then organizes and hosts a day of free events focused on honoring our children.

  • Structure:  The community will determine the agenda and activities to achieve the purpose and outcomes noted above.  There are two main components for the community to organize:

o   1) Ceremony (short program with limited speakers sharing messages of love, expectations, roles, and culture/language with the kids, then family introductions and/or open mic- however the community determines is most effective way to do this) and

o   2) Celebration (fun and free), with an emphasis on fun cultural activities, like singing and dancing, and ‘carnival’ type activities like ‘tribal design facepainting’, NYO games, arts and crafts, and the like.

o   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 communities.

  • How:  To participate, a community member interested in helping organize the event in their community registers by clicking this link:  Honoring Our Children Online Registration.  Those without access to internet may also register by contacting the Statewide Coordinator.

o   If more than one person or organization signs up in a community, they will be connected by the Statewide Coordinator.  Participating communities agree to organize and host the event in the spirit in which it has been created- for the love of our children.

o   The statewide effort will focus on coordinating locations, developing the connectivity plan (communications, social media, broadcast, etc), help connect communities, partners and sponsors, and create/share materials

o   The Statewide Coordinator will host organizing meetings with the AFN CAAN Honoring Our Children Work Group and participating communities

INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS:

Statewide meetings will be held on the following days to share this idea, energy, and excitement

  • Monday, March 3rd @ 10:00 am
  • Wednesday, March 5th @ 11:00 am
  • Friday, March 7th @ 12:00 pm
  • Monday, March 10th @ 12:00pm
  • Meetings will be held via teleconference at 1-866-516-3949, Access Code: 1523749# or in-person at First Alaskans Institute, 606 E Street, Ste 200, Anchorage (Corner of 6th & E, entrance is on E Street).  If you can’t make a meeting, call the Statewide Coordinator to get looped in.