About the Giiwedin Anang Council
Aboriginal Legal Serivice’s approach to Indigenous Alternative Dispute Resolution for families in crisis, is the Giiwedin Anang Council. The council is a group of volunteers from the Indigenous community in the Greater Toronto Area. Elders, Knowledge Keepers, Aunties, Uncles and community members gather in a Talking Circle to guide families through their difficult situations. This is more of an approach than a process. We support families at all levels of conflict, from access & custody to apprehensions and placement.
The Councils approach is to remain neutral and compassionate, while guiding the families towards the best possible outcome for the children. Our philosophy is that: The Indigneous Community knows best how to help a community member in crisis. Our volunteers bring with them the best of their lived experience, a mix of personal resilience and professional success. Creating a safe space for families to open up about their lives is a skill, one all council volunteers have been trained to create. With their collective knowledge, connected hearts & minds and through their spirit, they shine together to be a guiding light through dark times.
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.
Our Name: Giiwedin Anang
In the winter of 2009-2010, community members and staff intived Traditional Healer Jake Ago Neh, to Aboriginal Legal Services for a naming ceremony. Jake was offered Tobacco and offerings for the naming ceremony. After the ceremony, Jake shared that Giiwedin Anang is Anishinaabemowin for North Star.
Jake explained that long ago, if a person was lost at night in the dark, all the person had to do was look up into the night sky and look for 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 Start for families involved with the child welfare systems and family court. We help provide a sense of direction that can be used as a guiding light through conflict towards resolution.
Most families attend around for talking circles before reaching resolutions to their conflict. Our goal is that families close the circle approach with an understanding and acceptance of their unique roles and responsibilities.
If you would like to know more or inquire about our approach. Please follow this link.
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, Epiphany Hunt at 416-408-3967x222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Council is looked after by the council coordinator: