Thunderbirds, Thunder-beings, Thunder-voices

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The Application of Traditional Knowledge and Children’s Rights in Support of Aboriginal Children’s

The following discussion seeks to combine the strengths of these traditional indigenous cultural supports for children with international child rights treaties in helping to promote the right of all Aboriginal children in Canada to a meaningful education. The global context for this discussion is the International Decade for the World’s Indigenous Peoples which runs from 1995 – 2004. The paper attempts to weave these two world views from the perspective of a Euro-American children’s advocate/academic and a traditional Coast Salish protocol advisor who are both dedicated to bridging the language of children’s rights with an expression of traditional indigenous cultural values and educational practices supporting children. The flight of the Thunderbird, the mythological figure representing powerful spiritual vision, change, and transformation is used to symbolise this process.

Imagine a world where we build on the core strengths of children, their families, and communities, to create dignity, belonging, and justice for all.


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A Canadian non-profit charity working locally, nationally, and internationally.