Session 3


the youth’s identity, experiences and family traditions

Indigenous perspectives

Being and becoming a good relative is an important aspect of Indigenous knowledge systems. It is something many Indigenous Peoples have in common. Before colonization, Indigenous Peoples’ traditional life ways developed to preserve relationships with the land, each other, the ancestors and the cosmos in order to maintain life. Being a good relative means our ways of doing and our action-taking help us to sustain good relations. Indigenous people see this as a responsibility to past, present and future generations.

Colonialism, in contrast, is characterized by a drive to make progress—always trying to change things, and not sustaining or showing respect and gratitude for what we already have.

Indigenous Peoples have many beautiful teachings about how to take good care of the body, mind and spirit that can offer us ways of seeing and responding to anxious youth with respect and dignity. Traditionally, Indigenous child-rearing practices, across cultures, were based on long periods of observing a child, to see their nature. Once adults felt they had a good sense of the nature of a particular child, they provided more direction and support to nurture the child’s gifts. Anxiety may have been perceived as the gifts of a highly sensitive and empathic child, who required support and traditional mentoring. As the child developed, the community embodied this gift, which was needed for one reason or another.

Indigenous families and communities have many traditional ways to honour their children and youth.

Stories of honouring as medicine

'It's your path but you don't have to walk it alone.'

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