Learning from the Ktunaxa

Michele Cook's picture

On a snowy January day 2014, Philip and I made a long overdue visit to Cranbrook to meet with Bart Knudsgaard and Eva Cole and other members of the Ktunaxa-Kinbasket Child & Family Services Society. A delegated service agency committed to working collaboratively with Aboriginal families and communities of the Ktunaxa Traditional Territory to increase their ability to fulfill their responsibilities for caring for their children in a culturally relevant manner.

We had long heard about their vision of people working together to build stronger and empowered families and healthy communities and their innovative use of signs of safety to support child and family well being.  Check out the link below for more info on signs of safety, as well as the following link which provides the evidence of it's effectiveness.

http://www.signsofsafety.net/signs-of-safety/

http://www.signsofsafety.net/signs-of-safety-research/

We were hosted in the old residential school which the nation has claimed back. After a night of intense dreams of supporting children in transition to overcome the shame; A story of resilience, and healing was told to us by Herman, the elder in residence and former student of the residential school. Of the ceremony and intentions to reclaim their culture and purpose from the place that had taken it away. FOr more of this interesting story see http://www.steugene.ca/resort/interpretive-centre/heritage

The staff and community members also shared their successes and challenges with supporting the wellbeing and safety of children in their communities. CPID and appropriate and sustainable education and access to cultural teaching became a theme of the afternoon discussion with insights being shared.

It was an ispirational trip  and we hope to maintain the connection and support the work through CPID and other upcoming best practice forums.