Giidosendiwag (We Walk Together): Creating Culturally Based Supports for Urban Indigenous Youth in Care

Nancy Stevens, Rachel Charles, Lorena Snyder - Journal of Law and Social Policy


In Ontario, as elsewhere in the country, there are limited Indigenous-specific resources to assist in strengthening Indigenous youth, families, and communities. We explore how that might be changed by using the Anishnaabeg Youth in Transition Program at Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle, based in Peterborough, Ontario, as one model of service delivery. Niijkiwendidaa is situated in the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, one of several Anishnaabeg nations, and falls within the Williams Treaty area. We demonstrate how embedding culture in youth services greatly enhances the quality of life for youth now, and in the long term. We draw on these ideas and our integrative model to show how this approach can be both restorative and restitutive, providing it as an example that might meet the needs of other communities. With a view to acting on the recommendations highlighted in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, we propose that a rebuilding of relationships, and the cultural rooting of helping systems, are essential to raising our youth to become healthy, strong adults.