Native Studies 308

Opikihawasiwin: An Introduction to anishinaabe ekwa nehiyo Child-Rearing Practices

Course details

This course is an introduction to opikihâwasiwin (specifically from an anishinaabe and nehiyawak perspective). Indigenous Peoples on Turtle Island have extensive, detailed, elaborate, and sophisticated methods for raising children that ensured the child reached their full potential and development, while having protection, prevention, intervention, and fostering success. Students will gain an understanding of opikihâwasiwin, including beliefs on how children arrive to askiy tipimâtisiwin (this earth life) from the spirit world, nohtikwewak atayohkanak (spiritual grandmothers) responsible for teaching human beings about child-rearing such as otapihkew nôhtikwêw (the grandmother who weaves things, "spider woman"). Pregnancy and child delivery teachings will include a review of traditional birthing practices and explanations on the physical and spiritual relatedness of our body organs to maskihkiya (Indigenous medicines). anishinaabe ekwa nehiyaw stages of human development and isihcikewina (ceremonies) utilized for prevention, protection, and intervention mechanisms at each stage will be reviewed, as well as Indigenous child adoption practices. Indigenous technologies utilized in opikihâwasiwin such as the waspison (baby mossbag), askotâskopison (cradle board), and wîwewepison (swing) and their relation to spiritual teachings and ceremonies will be explored. This course will include a land-based practicum to Drumheller, Medicine Hat, and Cypress Hills where students will solidify what they have learned in in class, by connecting how these teachings are reflected in the land forms covered through the course. 

3 Credits 

Course prerequisites:

NTST 103 or consent of the instructor

This course is featured in the following Yellowhead Tribal College programs: