Maajiigin Family Center

Welcome

Maajiigin is an Ojibwe land-based childcare partnering with families to build a teaching and learning community dedicated to speaking Ojibwe and carrying it out into the community. Our dedication to Ojibwe ways and language drives our decisions.

We provide child care for infants and toddlers ages 6 weeks to 3 years.

Our Families

Our families are at the center of our work. We recognize that our families are critical in order for us to be successful in building community, creating opportunity for Ojibwe language and culture, intergenerational transmission of Anishinaabe lifeways and the delivery of land-based childcare.  We see our families as community leaders who, in partnership with our staff and community knowledge holders, will make significant contributions to our language revitalization efforts in Leech Lake. They help broaden our language and culture revitalization efforts beyond school settings, into the community and beyond.

Maajiigin Family Center Logo
How to Apply
Online Application
Parent Portal
Calendar

Contact Us

16160 60th Ave NW
Cass Lake, MN 56633

Ingrid Mesarina
Maajiigin Center Coordinator: Email

Waase Paulson
Ojibwemowin Mentor: Email

Rebecca Littlewolf
Child Care Services Manager: Email

Outdoor Learning

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Classrooms

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Language

Outdoor event - Ojibwe culture
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We are dedicated to building a respectful, healthy community of colleagues. Each team member brings important gifts, experiences and insights that are critical to our success.  Each is responsible to bring their gifts to bear for the good of the community.  Our staff participate in deliberate learning and speaking our ancestral language. They build community with our families through respectful and meaningful relationships. Our staff are professionals who are always growing their skills to create the best care possible for our children and families.

Our language effort drives our programming. We recognize and embrace the benefits of language learning for our children, but acknowledge that without a systematic approach for language learning we do not have the capacity to create learning opportunities. Therefore, we are focusing on adult language learning. Our staff will study and speak Ojibwemowin. We will speak as much Ojibwe as we know, while continually striving to learn more. We also expect our families to speak and learn Ojibwe to build whole-hearted communities of Ojibwe speakers at home and beyond. Gradually, with intention and effort, we will develop increasing language goals up to and including total immersion.

We make our best effort to honor our inheritance from our ancestors by shaping our programing and guiding our choices with Ojibwe thought and practice.

It is our responsibility to each other, as Ojibwe people, to sustain our lifeways. We must learn and teach our values and traditions in practical ways so that we honor the sacrifices of our ancestors by remaining here, as intact as possible, for generations to come.

Our program priority is to sustain our Ojibwe language and cultural practices and create space in our community for speaking and learning Ojibwemowin. This priority will be used as a guiding principle to inform programming decisions. We realize that in order to maintain Ojibwemowin for our babies, we as adults must take responsibility to speak and learn Ojibwe. Our program creates opportunities for our staff and families to learn and transmit gidinwewininaan to our newest generation.

We work always to improve our practice, be it our Anishinaabe childcare practice, Ojibwe language transmission, or building our community.

  • Deliver childcare utilizing Ojibwe child rearing practices.
  • Support healthy development of Ojibwe children.
  • Utilize the outdoors for learning.
  • Build community Ojibwe capacity by supporting adult language learning.
  • Build love of language.
  • Build leadership.
  • Nation building.
  • Learn and share Ojibwe lifeways.

We engage Ojibwe cultural practices including but not limited to; abaabasigewin (smudging); biindaakoojigewin (passing asemaa); ashangewin (seasoning feasts); aadizookewin (storytelling); and pipe openings. To the extent possible, our staff and families will take leadership in these practices. We will seek guidance from community knowledge holders to incorporate Ojibwe practice in appropriate ways.

Our advisory council consists of community members who model Ojibwe values and have a variety of strengths, skills and knowledge to help guide our practice. They provide guidance and support for our program objectives for children and families 0-99 and beyond.

Our language and culture provide opportunities for health. Our children, our families and our community all do better when we have a strong sense of self available to us in our language and ways. We each have a responsibility to strive to speak our language and know our ways so that we may share them with each other and with the coming generations.

Everyone has a gift. Each of us is born with gifts that can build stronger families and communities. It is our individual responsibility to learn about our gifts and to create environments where our children discover and hone their own gifts.

Respect. We hold close to our hearts the value of respect as a most Ojibwe worldview. Respect for self. Respect for community. Respect for the natural world around us. Respect for the gifts we were given as Ojibwe people. Respect for others.

Responsibility. We recognize that we are responsible to each other, to ourselves and to the coming generations to make sincere efforts to create pathways to language resilience and cultural competence. We are responsible for each action we take and do not take. Each of us have gifts. It is our responsibility to recognize.

Reciprocity. We embrace Ojibwe traditions of reciprocity and recognize that in order to strengthen our community, we must strive towards balance, allowing each community member to contribute as they are able.

It is our responsibility to create opportunities for language revitalization in our community.

We have the responsibility to learn and speak Ojibwe, while holding space where Ojibwe is learned and spoken.

We are responsible to develop avenues for our families to become advocates for their children, our language, and our nation.

We focus on wellness for our children, our families, our staff and our community, understanding that wellness is supported by strong Ojibwe identities and understanding of self.

We create access to language and cultural knowledge and understanding. Our families and staff will be confident in their understanding of how to conduct themselves in the Ojibwe community.

We are guided by Ojibwe practices in our approach to child care and community.

Our understanding of Ojibwe child care practices requires that we build relationships with each and with our natural environment.

It is our belief that each of us has a gift and we are responsible to each other to strengthen our own gifts and to build environments where each child’s gifts develop and are valued.

We are building a community wherein each member has a role to play and is valued for their gifts.

We seek partnership with our families, staff and knowledgeable community members to build a space where Ojibwe language and lifeways thrive.

With our staff and children, our families are critical components of our community. In order to build our best community, our families are expected to contribute. As no family has the same resources or skills, contributions can be unique to the gifts each family brings. Families are expected to contribute a minimum of eight hours each month. Contributions can be met by one or multiple family members. Families can satisfy this expectation in a number of ways including; time in the classroom, trail maintenance in our outdoor space, teaching traditional skills to staff and families, participating in cultural reclamation gatherings/activities, learning Ojibwe, and other activities that contribute to the success of our Maajiigin community.