Aboriginal Legal Services
Giiwedin Anang Council
The Giiwedin Anang Council -- Is a Aboriginal Alternative Dispute Resolution program for families involved in the child welfare system.
We are funded by the Ministry of Child and Youth Services. The Council is made up of a selection of Volunteer Elders and Community Members from the Aboriginal Community in Toronto.
Our approach to dispute resolution comes from the traditional philosophy that: The Aboriginal community knows best how to help a community member in crisis.
The purpose of the Giiwedin Anang Council is to allow parents, children, extended family, child welfare authorities and others with concerns for a child’s future, to get together and develop a plan that will meet the needs of the child.
The Council is a circle which allows all parties to have a voice in a culturally relevant and integral way.
We received our name from Traditional Healer Jake Ago Neh. Giiwedin Anang is Anishinabemowin for North Star.
Jake explained that traditionally if a person was lost at night, alone and in the dark, all that the person had to do was find the Big Dipper and from there the North Star. After finding the North Star, the person is no longer lost.
Our Council is the North Star for everyone involved with the child welfare system. We help provide a sense of direction that can be used as a guiding light.
Accessing the Council
Any individual involved in the child welfare system has a right to ask for their case to be heard by the Giiwedin Anang Council through a Talking Circle. Please go to the Referral Page and complete the referral form to begin the process of the Giiwedin Anang Council.
The program is open to taking on new or returning clients. Please fill out the referral form HERE, Once this is completed the Giiwedin Assistant, Loretta Watetch, will follow up with you to arrange the circle process for your family. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Loretta at Giiwedinassistant@aboriginallegal.ca or 416 408 3967 x 222.
Talking Circles are sacred. It is important to remember: What is said in the circle must stay in the circle.
Talking Circles take place pre and post- apprehension with a view to bringing clarity and resolutions to the matter acceptable to all parties.
Talking circles may involve the family, child welfare agency, Children’s Lawyer, First Nations Band and volunteer members and Elders.
Most families attend four talking circles before reaching resolutions to their conflict. The council often provides guidance for families to stay together but always keeps the best interests of the child central to their recommendations.
Most families find their way to resolutions with understanding and acceptance of their unique roles and responsibilities.
If you or someone you know is currently involved in the Child Welfare System or has a custody and access conflict, please fill out the referral form HERE. Any other questions, please contact the Giiwedin Anang Assistant, Loretta Watetch at 416 408 3967 x 222 or Giiwedinassistant@aboriginallegal.ca
Talking Circles are facilitated by the Case Worker: Ryan Walsh 416 408 3967 x 275 or Ryan@aboriginallegal.ca
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