February 2021
Announcing Monthly Virtual Sharing and Learning sessions with ALIGN
The team at ALIGN are happy to announce a new online sharing and learning opportunity starting March 5. This series will build on the work being done on the Indigenous Cultural Understanding Framework (ICUF) initiative. The initiative's objective is to outline a holistic Learning and Development Pathway to Indigenous cultural understanding to support service providers in Alberta to be culturally appropriate, and influence better outcomes for Indigenous children, youth, families and communities.

This new series will be facilitated by Frank Shannon, Haida Nation – Old Massett Band. Frank has been working within British Columbia and Alberta for over 25 years as an Indigenous liaison and knowledge keeper.

Utilizing a Story Picture, the sessions will support organization staff to reflect upon the existing cultural understanding within their agencies and introduce solutions to gaps that may be present on both Western and Indigenous Worldviews within the organization.

One ALIGN organization will be highlighted each month to reflect on the Indigenous Cultural understanding within the organization and share how your organization can use a story picture to create your own internal discussions.

We acknowledge that when the western worldview of networking and the Indigenous worldview of making relations is understood, we can begin to discover Indigenous Cultural Understanding in organizations and look at the parallels from both worldviews within our organization and programs.

Recognizing the work of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the discussions around systemic racism by initiatives such as the Reimagine Playbook, and the connections made at the Stay In to Speak Out session on Indigenous Sovereignty by AG7, we will continue to host new series of Sharing and Learning to bring present day challenges for Alberta Indigenous children and families into focus.

Sessions are the first Friday of each month starting March 5 12:30-1:30p.m.
The Journey Home - Training session for FOCS trainers facilitated by Frank Shannon and Beverly Keeshig-Soonia
ALIGN invites all Foundation of Caregiver Support (FOCS) Trainers to come together virtually to watch the “The Journey Home”, a 25-minute film designed to train caregivers and reflect on what this means for caregiver training. This session will be facilitated by Frank Shannon and Beverly Keeshig-Soonia, March 12, 2021 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm via virtual zoom platform. ( please register here)

The session is intended to model the concept of keeping people “in a range of resilience” throughout the viewing of – the film itself and the facilitation approach. It is important that a safe place is provided to reflect and share observations about heavy topics without leaving people activated and disassociated.

The post-viewing discussion is intended for reflection on the film in a more interactive and relational approach than watching it alone.

More information about the film:

The video, “Journey Home explores healing Indigenous children in the Canadian child welfare system. This powerful documentary provides an Indigenous community perspective on inter-generational trauma and its impacts on children and youth in government care. This Research-Based Documentary highlights community approaches to ensuring children are meaningfully connected to their culture, community and identity.” Available online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=G-q4VepX4vU and developed by Native Counselling Services of Alberta http://www.ncsa.ca.

You are invited to the collective viewing of the “The Journey Home” video and facilitated group discussion as we look at this tool for training caregivers and staff.
News from First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada
Two new scholarships for Indigenous women students in memory of Joyce Echaquan

 The Canada Research Chair in Issues Relating to Indigenous Women and the DIALOG Indigenous Peoples Research and Knowledge Network announce the creation of a scholarship in memory of Joyce Echaquan.

Four months after the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan, professors Suzy Basile (UQAT) and Carole Lévesque (INRS) unite their efforts and, with the support of Ms. Echaquan's family, launch a scholarship intended for an Indigenous master's level student. . The Office of the Chief Scientist of Quebec and the Quebec Research Fundsare happy to support this initiative by offering a scholarship of the same amount and under the same terms to a second Indigenous student.

These scholarships, amounting to $ 36,000 over two years each, will be awarded by competitive examination to Indigenous students wishing to pursue a master's degree at the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) or at the Institut national de scientific research (INRS). Their research work should target the call to action and commitment contained in the Joyce Principle , as presented last November by the Council of Atikamekw of Manawan and the Council of the Atikamekw Nation. Learn more

On March 20, celebrate Elderbeary Day!

Elderbeary Day honours and celebrates the contributions of our Elders, who do so much to teach and raise our little ones. Celebrate by thanking your Elders for all that they do for you and for your community by writing them letters, drawing them pictures, or in any way you believe best represents how much you care.

If you'd like to share your Elderbeary Day celebrations on social media, use the hashtags #ElderbearyDay or #JournéeOursonAîné.

We know it might be hard right now to spend time with your Elders but here are some safe ways to celebrate: Practicing safe social distancing, Saying hi virtually, Running errands & dropping off supplies, Doing yard work, Washing your hands

Reconciliation is all of us. Read this information sheet on ways that you can help make a difference.
Spirit Bear Award
Nominations Close March 31, 2021
The Spirit Bear Award is named in honour of Spirit Bear, who is a symbol of reconciliation and equity for kids.

Do you know a group of children and/or youth (18 and under) who has been doing work on reconciliation and the TRC Calls to Action? This award honours the work of two groups of young people who are demonstrating reconciliation in action to ensure First Nations, Métis and Inuit young people have the same opportunities as all other children.

The Bookshelf
Eaglespeaker Publishing features books for children, teens and adults, many who are from Alberta!

Do you know of an Alberta author who has published a children's story that shares their heritage?

Send us a link to the book and we'll include it in another edition of Connections!

Take a look at our Children's Book library! (Click on the library shelves)