Including children as part of the community

Shannon Crossbear, Native American Elder, shares advice for parents on the benefits of giving children responsibilities to help them feel like a part of the community
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Including children as part of the community

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I think all children need to feel like they are part of a community, and in our tribal communities we have very set traditions that we are trying to reclaim at this point in time. Really thinking about children and the fact that they are a part, they are never separated out - I always find it's interesting from a European perspective of watching the 'children's table;' so at big celebrations you will see everybody sitting down at a big table and then there is the kids' table, right? In our tribal communities we don't see that. We don't see our senior citizens, or what we call our 'elders' being separated from children, so they are very much a part of all that the community does. When I go some place, my grandchildren always make sure there are certain protocols about the way that they treat elders. For example, if we are eating, the children have responsibility to set the plates for the elders and get the food to them. The children are a part of all of what we do so they are not separated out like a separate society.

Shannon Crossbear, Native American Elder, shares advice for parents on the benefits of giving children responsibilities to help them feel like a part of the community

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Shannon Crossbear

Native American Elder

Shannon CrossBear is a beautiful, powerful, spiritual Ojibwe and Irish woman. Shannon is an enrolled member of Fort William First Nation of the Lake Superior Ojibwe, which is located in Ontario, Canada.  She has lived on the shores of Lake Superior for the majority of her life and currently resides within the boundaries of the United States in Hovland, Minnesota. Wabagoness, her given name in Ojibwemoin, is a daughter, sister, mother and grandmother. Shannon has been a story teller for an audience of relatives and friends for many years.  As a columnist for the Cook Country News Herald she wrote over 200 hundred article under the heading Mino- Biimadizawin (the good path/life).Her purpose is to demonstrate and promote gentle healing. She expresses her commitment to healing through her business Strongheart Resource Development. Conditions within Ms. CrossBear’s family of origin and community cement her commitment to improving conditions for children, their families and communities.

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