Our children are sacred gifts – A Christmas message from our Executive Director Thelma Morris

One of our nine values at Tikinagan is spirituality. From our Indigenous culture and traditions, this value was taught and passed down by our Elders who believed that all people are spiritual beings and that our children are sacred gifts from the Creator. Tikinagan respects all spiritual beliefs, and we believe everyone has the right to choose their own spiritual beliefs and spiritual practices.

This Christmas season, I reflect on my own spiritual traditions, the birth of Jesus Christ. I think about Mary, a young woman who was not only given the task to birth this holy baby, but to become a new mother. Standing by her side was her partner Joseph, who would become a step-father and role model to the boy. These two humble individuals raised a child who would change the world.

But they were never alone in their parenting journey. Even before he was born, others were there to help. The Inn Keeper gave them a place to stay, and the Three Wise Men and Shepherds were called to Bethlehem to witness and rejoice in the birth of Christ. As he travelled with his family and lived in his community, there were people who knew Jesus as a boy.

This biblical story is an example of our service model Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin, which means “everyone working together.” Mamow Obiki-ahwahsoowin is rooted in our traditional customs of caring for children. In our culture, children are sacred gifts from the Creator, not only to the family but also to the larger community of extended family members. Everyone shares in the responsibility of protecting and caring for our children.

As I think about our children and youth in our all communities across Northwestern Ontario this holiday season, I am thankful for everyone who has a part in their lives. I’m thankful for all the parents, kookums and moshooms, aunties and uncles, cousins and siblings, our foster families, our staff, and Elders. On behalf of our Board, miigwetch for being present in the life of a young person, the sacred gift from the Creator. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.


Thelma Morris

Executive Director