kahkiyaw awâsisak sâkihâwak: All Children are Loved

Thanks to Tammy Joan Ratt and her little sweetie for permission to use this FaceBook image. She commented there: “We hurt becuz our family has been hurt. We feel it in our hearts and lives everyday. It is real. We will easily wear orange one day a year to honour all the people that were affected by residential schools, we feel it everyday❤️

kahkiyaw awâsisak sâkihâwak.
ᑲᐦᑭᔭᐤ ᐊᐚᓯᓴᐠ ᓵᑭᐦᐋᐘᐠ
All children are loved.

Jason Chamakase provided his interpretation of the popular slogan, “Every Child Matters”: When it comes to the word “matter/s” it is similar to “important.”

ispihtēyihtākwan (iss pih teeh taa kwan) “it is of importance/thought highly of”
ispihtēyihtākosiw (iss pih teeh taa ko soo) “he/she is important/highly thought of”

tahto (tah to) “each/every”
awāsis (a waa sis) “a child”
ispihtēyihtākosiw (iss pih teeh taa ko soo) “matters”

tahto awāsis ispihtēyihtākosiw
ᑕᐦᑐ ᐊᐋᐧᓯᐢ ᐃᐢᐱᐦᑌᔨᐦᑖᑯᓯᐤ
every child matters.

Thanks to Heather Souther for underscoring the reflections of Simon Bird (#CreeSimon):

Good words from Simon Bird who speaks from experience. We need to support families to best support children. This goes for language revitalization, too! Family-based/community-based learning creates places for our languages to live in an authentic way and creates a stronger sense of identity, pride and cohesiveness. Master (mentor)-Apprentice programs can be a big part of this!

From within the school system, Simon Bird writes:

Every child matters?
If you wear an orange shirt in support of residential school survivors please remembers every child that’s with us today.

Remember the kids that are not in school today, that are incarcerated or running from police as we speak. They are who they are because they had no champions at home. These kids that are running straight into a brick wall: death, gangs, drug abuse, sexual abuse, alcohol abuse, incarceration.

Remember these are kids who have no parenting, come from violent families and copy what they see at home. When you wear that orange shirt today remember every child needs a champion before they become the pitiful parents they had.

I know the orange shirts are for residential school survivors. I wear my shirt for the grandchildren and great grandchildren of these survivors.

Remember the pitiful parents today were once children too, kids who come from parents who don’t know how to parent. The kids who become addicts who had kids themselves.

It’s much harder than you realize to champion every child. To say every child matters is easy. To do something about is very hard.

How do you champion 20 kids when one kid throat punches you as a teacher and terrorizes the rest of your students? How do you champion a student (whose been missing from school all week) on the playground when they run around at recess stealing money off of others and throws rocks at you? How do you champion a kid who breaks into your home and taunts you at school because they know they are untouchable? Or when they threaten to break into your home with a gun to teach you a lesson? How do you champion a kid whose parents threaten you if you are doing your job as a teacher?

It’s not easy. It takes an incredible amount of understanding, to truly know we can only champion so many, without burning out trying to help every child. Help as many as much as possible.

If we all did this, no one would be forgotten. As one person don’t try to champion every single person until you become useless and jaded. Help support those you can, honestly and compassionately AND support others whose job it is to be champions. Support the teachers, schools, child family services, mental health workers and yes, the RCMP. These institutions get a bad rap, but the fact remains we have parents who were once kids with no family support.

Support the families so we can support the child.

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