How a strong community creates a sense of belonging

Native American Elder and educator Shannon Crossbear shares the importance of raising children in a strong community with parents and older adult role models.
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How a strong community creates a sense of belonging

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I think it's really important that we think about the fact that, we hear these terminologies that it takes a village to raise a child, and I think that's really true. It's understanding what the constructs are in the community that you live in; and in my tribal community - we're very fortunate in many ways, even though we've had a lot of tragedy and a lot of social ills as a result of different policies. We have this sense of who we are as a people and as a community and so with our children it's important, because they know that it's not just their biological parents or even their biological grandparents, but the elders in that community who participate with them, the older youth in that community who participate with the younger youth, is that it's so important to have that kind of sense of belonging and it's a huge issue in our world right now, because people are finding senses of belonging in things that are not necessarily constructive. A sense of belonging, for example, in a gang; what is that all about? It's being about being able to have people who have your back. The community is like that for our children and it's important to build that if you don't have it.

Native American Elder and educator Shannon Crossbear shares the importance of raising children in a strong community with parents and older adult role models.

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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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