Aboriginal Day Camp for Girls was started from an idea that by connecting girls to their culture we can strengthen their self-esteem, self-worth and improve self-care. The truth is that while in foster care children are not always given the means or skills to deal with their feelings of separation from family. Sixteen little girls together every Saturday to learn about their culture gives them a sense of belonging to a greater family. While being in the presence of camp leaders who have all been through foster care or adoption they all have a keen sense of what the separation feels like and how to approach getting through adolescence alone.
The loss of family through generational genocide has greatly harmed three generations of First Nations peoples in Canada. In BC the highest rate of children in foster care still remains Aboriginal children. The highest population of incarcerated adults in Canadian prisons is for those of First Nations descent. Many of these adults came from the foster care system. Why is this? How did this happen? Seventy years of residential schools, obliteration of natural resources, treaties that took away a way of life that sustained our peoples for thousands of years. We can go on and on. The bottom line is the children of this generation are the hope for the future. We can change how they perceive themselves.
Rather than making children wonder why not tell them. The purpose is not to make children feel worse but to take the idea of building strength from all that we know about Aboriginal culture and give them happiness and joy to know this is where they come from. This is their right to know and be given the opportunity to feel loved, honoured and valued in a society that continues to portray First Nations peoples as dependents or drains to mainstream society.