Cree Kinship – nêhiyaw kesi wahkotok – how we are related

Date: October 15, 2020

Time: 9:00 am

Location: Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton, AB

Cree Kinship – nêhiyaw kesi wahkotok how we are related

ALIGN hosts: IRM Research & Evaluation Inc

2 – Day Workshop Experience

October 15th and 16th, 2020

TIME: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm – Lunch included *special dietary needs not offered*

LOCATION: Ellerslie Rugby Park, Edmonton, AB

COST: Members $450.00 and non – members $500.00


The purpose of this 2-day experience is to share nêhiyaw teachings on kinship, community, ceremony, development, and wellbeing in a method that is transferable to practice with Indigenous families. Our team (comprised of a nêhiyaw nocikwesiw, wicihtasow, and Métis iskwew) developed this kinship understanding tool after years of gathering practice-based evidence found in nêhiyaw language, ceremony, and teachings. Our team is Dr. Leona Makokis, Dr. Ralph Bodor, Kristina Kopp.

Description: nêhiyaw kesi wahkotok: how we are related is based in the nêhiyaw (Cree) language and worldview. This includes nêhiyaw kinship terms and teachings on wâhkotowin (relations) to recognize the sacred roles and responsibilities of family and community. The importance of ceremony to the Turtle Lodge Teachings (nêhiyaw child, family, and community development) is also embedded within this kinship tool, along with other teachings that create balance and wellbeing or the good life – miyo pimâtisiwin. In the nêhiyaw worldview, children are understood as spirits on a human journey – and those understandings are included in the kinship mapping process.

In child intervention practice, genograms are widely-used as a form of assessment to map family systems, relationships, and patterns. To encompass the broad social environment, genograms are often paired with ecomaps to identify external resources and formal or informal supports. While these tools attempt to understand the contextual reality of families, they come from a particular worldview that holds a distinct perspective on family and community. Indigenous understandings of family, relations, responsibilities, community, and development are vastly different than what the genogram and ecomap are able to capture.

The Turtle Lodge Teachings are a nêhiyaw parallel to western theories on development, such as Erickson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development, Piaget’s Cognitive Developmental Theory, and Bowlby’s Attachment Theory. These western concepts of development often inform our practice with children, adolescents, and families as they identify life milestones and trajectories that are crucial to healthy development. Similarly, The Turtle Lodge Teachings encompass key rites of passage that are vital to miyo pimâtisiwin – the good life and nêhiyaw mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical development across the lifespan.


IMPORTANT: It is important that participants in the training understand that they will be engaging in ceremony and will be exposed to sage and sweet-grass smoke.

PARTICIPATION IN CEREMONY: children and family serving workers who provide services to Indigenous families should practice within the context of relational accountability, protocol, and ceremony. It is vital that those who work with Indigenous families have an experiential understanding of these concepts and experiences – consequently, while not mandatory, participation in ceremony is an expectation. As this training is immersive and based in ceremony, protocol, language, and relational accountability, we are able to accommodate a maximum of 20 participants to maintain an experiential, relational learning environment.

.MEALS: Lunch is provided for all participants. Please note that special dietary needs are not offered. Coffee and snacks will be provided on each morning of the two-day training.

The training will begin each day with a ceremony – so it is important that everyone is on time. Please plan to arrive slightly before 9:00 am each day.

Day 1: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

– Welcoming Smudge, Song, & Prayer

– Opening Circle & Introductions

– Teachings on children and where they come from – awasis

– Lunch – provided

nêhiyaw child, family, and community development – Turtle Lodge Teachings

– Closing Circle & Reflections


Day 2: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

– Smudge, Song, & Prayer

– Opening Circle & Reflections

– The importance of language & nêhiyaw kinship terms

– Lunch – provided

– Kinship Connections – nêhiyaw kesi wahkotok – how we are related

– Closing Circle & Reflections