The Grand Council of the Crees

Educators to Native Child Care Services Graduation Class of 2007 Delivered by Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff

Educators to Native Child Care Services Graduation Class of 2007 Delivered by Deputy Grand Chief Ashley Iserhoff

Posted: 2007-02-23

Kwei, I extend my greetings to all the invited guests, family and especially our graduates. I am always excited to be invited to a graduation ceremony as it's one of the best invitations you can receive. It is an occasion where we all gather to celebrate the accomplishments of many people who are family and our friends. In that celebration there is an accomplishment that not only have the graduates been enriched by their new knowledge and experiences throughout their program, but so has our Nation and communities benefited greatly by your commitment and dedication. The skills and thought you will bring to your positions in our community childcare centers are important.

The childcare centers and parents of our communities that you will work in, place a high degree of trust and faith in your abilities to nurture and care for our children. Our children are our most precious and vulnerable resource. They carry within them, the future of our Nation and people. Your ability as educators to help shape, teach, and encourage our children is a great and significant responsibility. You must use the good experiences of your childhood, of your education, and of your colleagues to help foster the development of proper and healthy characteristics and perspectives. I, as I am sure that many of you here today, do not take lightly this responsibility with which you are entrusted. It is with great joy, that we celebrate today an acknowledgment and confirmation of your success in studying and practicing the best ways to support and care for the children of our Nation.

I see many things that we need to do to make our communities and Nation better. However, these issues that will need long term solutions, and need great leaders in the future to carry the work and efforts we are starting today. We need to have a strong connection not only to the values and experiences of our past and present, but to build and link with the future of our Nation.

Earlier this week, I shared the following story at the community service, as I often do, I reflect deeply on the hope of our children and future. Today, I wish to share with you a personal story that illustrates a point I hope you take with you today, as I believe we never stop learning from those around us. Over the Christmas holidays, I had the pleasure of having my niece Rain and my nephew Daniel visit us. I sat in awe of them, as they walked around my house throughout the holidays playing and singing songs. They are only around two years old. I thought about how the Creator has given us all a gift. He has given us all a song to sing in life. As Daniel and Rain walked around proudly and joyously singing to the world their song, I thought of how beautiful it was to see this positive energy floating around my house. They were singing to share with us their family, their song. They are singing to remind us that it is important for us to enjoy life everyday, reminding us to continue to encourage our children and youth and contribute to build and lay a strong foundation so they will soar to new heights.

Our children look up to us, they will act out how we act. If we hurt each other, they will hurt each other, if we volunteer at community events, they will volunteer and give to the community. Therefore, we all need to remember what the bible teaches us, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it".

These words are powerful and at times I am amazed how we forget it at times. Let us not forget this teaching.
However, I encourage you the graduates, who today we recognize and affirm a great trust in, to encourage our children to sing their song proudly. I would ask you to treat the children you will care for as you would want your children cared for. It is important for all of us to be reminded that when dealing with our little ones not to use words that are harsh or would hurt them. These would only serve to smother their songs and their valuable contribution of energy and joy they give to our communities and environment. They possess creativity, innocence, energy and let us not limit their ability to influence the world around them. These are precious gifts, and we should all challenge those limits we have imposed or let others impose upon us, so we too can sing our songs proudly that life and God has given us to sing.

I thank you and acknowledge everyone who has helped you to reach this day as I know it has taken a lot of support from your teacher, the many different organizations and your families who greatly supported you to make this day possible.

Congratulations graduates, you did it!

Meegwetch and May God bless you and your families.