Child Care & Family Centre Rooted in Language & Culture

SOAHAC Child Care & Family Centre Receives its Name

Nshwaasnangong [nish-wos-nung-gong] is the name of the SOAHAC Child Care & Family Centre, anticipated to open in late 2020. Earlier this summer, a small group of planning committee members gathered at SOAHAC for a naming ceremony with Visiting Healer Richard Assinewai (Animkii-Ankwad/Thunder Cloud) from Wikwemikong. 

Throughout the entire planning process, our community members and planning partners have noted the importance of tending to the ceremonial and spiritual aspects of the Centre’s inception, including a naming ceremony.

Emmaline Beauchamp-McGahey (Mshkogaabwid Kwe) was the Community Animator in the beginning phases of the project. She is a current planning committee member, and she specializes in Anishinaabemowin Language Revitalization.

“The naming ceremony is very important as it speaks to our relationship with the space, and the purpose of the space within the Centre, which will be forever changing and adapting to the needs and demands of families” says Emmaline. “As we are in relationship with the space, it is important it has a name that is recognized by Creation. We will be asking for help and support from Creation to support the children and families, and we will need to identify the building when we speak about it whether in prayer, in our work or in meetings.”

As was shared from Richard and from Emmaline, Nshwaasnangong refers to the eighth star of the Big Dipper, which fell down from the sky world. It came down and became the people, providing everything needed in this world and forever connecting this realm with the gifts of the sky world. That this name was given to the Child Care and Family Centre means the eighth star is recognized as living within the space of the Centre, and we are responsible for tending to all of those tools, gifts, teachings and traditions.

Read more in the Nshwaasnangong Story and Explanation (PDF) prepared by Naomi Wilson, project coordinator.

We would also like to say Yaw^ko to Committee Member Danielle Hill, and the Oneida Language and Cultural Centre, Oneida Nation of the Thames, for assisting in providing a translation of the name. In acknowledgement of the name and identity given through the Naming Ceremony, a direct translation meaning ‘place of the eighth star’ has been shared:

Tsi’ nu: Téklu’ Niyotsistohkwále̲’
[gee new day-glu nee-yo-gee-sto-gwal]

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This project is made possible with funding from the Province of Ontario and
Government of Canada in partnership with the City of London.

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