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Indigenous Peoples’ Day
October 9, 2023
Humans are vulnerable and rely on the kindnesses of the earth and the sun; we exist together in a sacred field of meaning.
-Joy Harjo, American poet, musician, playwright, author, and the first Native American US Poet Laurea

Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday celebrated in the United States on the second Monday in October, recognizes and honors Indigenous American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures.

A wonderful article, free on the Exchange Content Hub, “Healing from History: Perspectives from Indigenous Child Care,” was written by Lisa Walker and Kim Nall, both participants in the World Forum Foundation on Early Care and Education’s Global Leaders program. Global Leaders for Young Children brings together emerging early childhood leaders from around the world who are passionate about changing the lives of young children, and whose goal is to become effective change agents and advocates for quality early childhood development in their home countries and regions.

In their article, Global Leaders Lisa and Kim share their insights on historical trauma, resilience and healing, based on their work with Indigenous early childhood programs. Following are a few excerpts.

Lisa Walker, from Australia, writes:

“As a First Nations woman who has worked in various roles over the past 30 years, including the past 16 in early childhood, I believe that … My people are strong, diverse, and proud. They are knowledgeable, spiritual, rich in culture, and have a deep connection to each other and to Country, and all that comes from her. We carry both intergenerational trauma and wisdom and are the First Peoples.”

Kim Nall, from the United States shares:

“There is growing concern about the long-term effects of traumatic early childhood experiences on adult health, mental health and well-being. We are bombarded with information about Adverse Childhood Experiences on a regular basis. Although this information has helped build critical awareness of preventing, mitigating, and treating childhood trauma, it may also be misunderstood, feeding fears, hopelessness, stress, and a narrow, deficit-oriented view of a child’s potential. Not all traumatizing events occurring in early childhood will lead to lifelong physical, emotional, and mental health issues. Trauma can alter the way we respond to situations and events in our world, how we cope throughout life, and how we perceive stressful situations. It can increase the risk of adverse overall health in adulthood—but increased risk is not equivalent to destiny. In order to be better equipped to navigate the effects adverse experiences have on children and families, it is valuable for early childhood professionals to have both internal and external resources to lean on. Having strength-based resources can provide resiliency and the ability to focus on wellness and healing, rather than challenges. Early childhood providers, teachers, and administrators can support children and families through building trusting relationships and connecting them to community resources.”


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