Neegaan Inabin: Looking Forward
Neegaan Inabin: Looking Forward
Tikinagan Child and Family Services has launched a new service that will empower youth aging out of care and young adults formerly in care to achieve independence and build their future.
The service is called Neegaan Inabin, which means in Oji-cree “looking forward.” It provides services to young adults from Tikinagan’s 30 First Nations, aged 18-26, and funding and enrolment begins effective immediately. The Neegaan Inabin program is voluntary and does not require any legal status or commitment.
Gail Anderson, Tikinagan Director of Services, explains this transitional service is important because the path from youth to adult is not a straight line.
“Starting out on your own as a young adult can be a scary, overwhelming, and lonely experience,” says Anderson. “At the same time, it can also be a time full of potential and growth. We want to give our First Nation young people the tools to succeed as they begin looking forward to their goals and their future.
“Neegaan Inabin is about providing stability and security so our young people can focus on establishing independence. They should never have to worry about having a place to live or where their next meal will come from once they turn 18.”
The program will help thriving young adults navigate resources they need to succeed by connecting them with existing supports within their communities. Types of supports include: housing; financial; health and wellness; connection to the land, culture, and spirituality, and learning and education.
Anderson adds: “Neegaan Inabin supports the safety and well-being of First Nations youth and young adults in a way that is culturally appropriate and in their self-identified best interest. It is a holistic service that is an extension of Tiknagan’s Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin service model, which recognizes the involvement of the family, extended family, community, First Nation, and other resources.”
The service will be directed by youth and young adults for their peers, as Neegaan Inabin will look to develop its own Youth Council to learn from those who have been through or still part of the child welfare system.
“Our young people are always looking forward,” said Anderson. “It’s a part of becoming an adult. You’re always thinking, ‘What’s next? What will my life look life?’ That is why we will learn from them by hearing what it means and what it will take to be an adult in this time.”
Funding for post-majority care support services became available on April 1, 2022 through Indigenous Services Canada.
For more information about Neegaan Inabin, visit neegaaninabin.org.
Logo & Branding
Weagamow First Nation youth artist Memekwe Apetawakeesic (Morriseau) drew the Neegaan Inabin logo. The image features a young bull crossing over a bridge.
“My drawing is signalling young adults learning how to adult and the transition into adulthood,” explained Memekwe, 16.
The image, which took Memekwe several days to imagine and about a half an hour to complete by first sketching it on paper, then digitalized on her iPad. The logo was then tweaked slightly by changing the blue background, adding the program’s eight pillars on the bridge, and adding the project’s name around the circle.
“I hope people see that my logo represents strength and durability, As moose are very strong and durable animals. And people as well, especially how hard it is to live now after the pandemic now that it’s nearly over.”
The colours around the circle are part of the traditional First Nations medicine wheel. The yellow and maroon are altered to match Tikinagan Child and Family Services’s primary colours. The blue is associated with another one of Tikinagan’s future-orientated projects, Niigaanshkaawin, which means “breaking trail.”