What is Abinoojinh Waakaa’igan?

Abinoojinh Waakaa’gan (Child House) is a project funded through Restorative Teaching: A Tribal College and university Collaborative to Strengthen Systems of Care and Learning with Native Families and Children. The Abinoojiinh Waakaa’igan project has initiated the action steps to improve the wellbeing of Native families and children through promoting indigenous culture-based early learning at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC) and within the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

During the first year, we have focused intensely on the traditional Ojibwa framework that honors the individual and the collective groups to which the individual belongs. Bimaadiziwin means a “A Healthy Way of Life". It is the Ojibwe’s holistic approach to good health and the role of traditional medicine and spiritual healers. Although Bimaadiziwin’s holistic approach includes the family, the clan, the community and the universe, we have focused specifically on the child, the family, and the community as depicted in the diagram below.

We found that all have input into this holistic approach to Bimaadiziwin, and each has resources to help meet human needs.

Three critical factors that Abinoojinh Waakaa’igan addresses at KBOCC and the tribal community related to health and wellness and developing pathways to secure families are as follows:

First, KBOCC currently addresses educational attainment by providing post-secondary education rich in Ojibwa culture, tradition and beliefs that support life-long learning and developing academic programs that are responsive to the needs of the community.

Secondly, KBOCC addresses children’s health and wellness through early childhood education, particularly through Migiziinsag early learning center which bridges the transition from pre-school to Kindergarten. Additionally, KBOCC has established a childcare center providing wrap-around programming for pre-school children as well as quality childcare for children of KBOCC students and staff, to support the education attainment of Native families namely those who are single-parents.

Thirdly, KBOCC ECE program works with KBIC DHHS, who provides basic medical and healthcare needs for the KBIC community, including children. The tribal community and Native families and children will benefit from linking services and a collaborative effort between partners to align and enhance resources and expertise.

About Restorative Teachings

A Tribal College and University collaborative to strengthen systems of care and learning with Native families and children. The American Indian College Fund (College Fund), in collaboration with Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), is implementing a $1.2 million dollar early childhood education (ECE) initiative that draws upon the child development knowledge from within Native communities melded with the best practices identified in the field of early childhood education. This community-based ECE initiative uses a multi-phase approach to developing long-term commitment and shared responsibility for the development of high-quality early childhood educational opportunities for Native children and their families, by aiming to design culturally-responsive and adapted ECE systems, build stronger family engagement programs, and support Native family economic security directly through partnerships and access to higher education.

Through local and national partnerships, tribal communities can benefit from restored access to systems, knowledge, approaches, networks, and strategies that contribute to sustained engagement resulting in improved early learning opportunities and health benefits for Native families and their children. Read More at Restorative Teachings Early Childhood Education Initiative website

What is our Vision?

We want improve the wellbeing of Native families and children through promoting indigenous culture-based early learning at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC) and within the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC).


How are we going to do this?

  • Increase the understanding of Anishinaabe language, history, culture, and social contexts; creating a welcoming environment; and strengthening learning from and about the environment.
  • Strengthen relationships with parents, families and extended families; involving parents in decision-making; extending culture-based learning into homes; and linking to community.

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College History

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College was chartered by Ordinance No. 75-1 of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community as a non-profit educational corporation, allowing the College to establish and operate institutions granting post-secondary degrees and certificates, and to coordinate and regulate higher education on the L’Anse Indian Reservation. The College was developed upon the principle that American Indian students deserve an educational system that is responsive to their needs and concerns. Its basic purpose is to provide an educational program in which students experience success and enhance their self-image, dignity, and independence while preparing for their chosen career paths. Read more at Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College website