Childhood is Sacred - ITCMI

Childhood is Sacred

About Childhood is Sacred

When making decisions, our Anishinaabeg ancestors thought about the impact their decision and planning would have seven generations ahead. It is a cultural practice that has helped preserved our language and traditional wisdom despite war and overwhelming historical challenges and barriers, some of which still affect us today and are largely the reason for the work we do in partnership with tribal communities.

Remembering that Childhood is Sacred keeps children at the heart of our communities and ensures a bright healthy future, many generations ahead. The period of childhood (0-8 years) is a foundational period of tremendous growth and development. It is the stage of life for learning and setting healthy practices. In addition, our elders tell us that every child is born with a unique gift important to maintaining balance in the community and as adults we are all charged with ensuring that every child is supported and nurtured in a manner that ensures their wellbeing. We want to see that every child’s gifts blossom.

Campaign Resources

Making Connections PSA

As fellow advocates, teachers, and Anishinaabe parents, we understand how important our children are to the health and wealth of our communities. ITCMI has partnered with the Michigan ACE Initiative to extend our work in addressing the mental health needs of children in our communities. Trauma is very real for our children and the more we do to understand how it affects our children, the more we help them heal and build their resilience. We are pleased to share some of our most materials for you to hang, talk about, and share with others in your community. This campaign in partnership with the MIACE Initiative ( touches on research that points to the importance of making connections to reduce trauma and increase resilience. These materials include tips and techniques that have been developed with input from youth and their providers as well as ACEs research and culture. The goal behind this work is to build resilience in youth through increased awareness and education about the importance of healthy social connections, connections to nature, and cultural connections. To learn more about ACEs and these resources or to access digital copies for download or further sharing, please go to and These sites can provide you with •a number of videos and 30 second PSAs you can share or play in your area.

•Posters (you can print and share for educational purposes only)

•Toolkit for lessons and activities that accompany the messages shared in the materials

•Links to other helpful resources and materials (see also:


Public Education Campaign Toolkit

This toolbox is designed to give parents, providers and caring adults working with youth 5-18 years old additional information surrounding the education campaign titled MAKING CONNECTIONS to Heal, Grow and Build Resilience.

We hope that the users of this toolkit will be become more trauma aware. It may not be easy and require years of support, but we truly believe that anyone can overcome the effects of Trauma or Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). We acknowledge that that can be a long challenging journey. By teaching resilience skills to children, we can empower them to resist and heal from trauma; thus, preventing the long-term health issues associated with ACEs.


Michelle Leask, MA/200RYT/SEL*F & ACEs Master Trainer

Citizen, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewas



Josie Babcock, MPH & ACEs Trainer

Citizen, Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Further acknowledgement goes to PACE D2A, Michigan Public Health Institute, MIACE Initiative, Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan Project ILAUNCH, Healthy Native Youth, and GoZen for their continued work and dedication in the field of youth mental health and prevention.

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Making Connections Poster

Making Connections Poster free for download and distribution.

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This billboard is on display during the summer of 2023 through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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Childhood is Sacred PSA

Children don’t need perfect parents. They need parents and grandparents to make time, listen, be curious and love them unconditionally. It’s our job to care for and spend time with our children so they realize their gifts and use them to help all our people. Childhood is sacred. Make time with your child sacred by being active, playful and true. This is how we heal the future. 


Download these posters to help promote the Childhood is Sacred Campaign. Each poster features different ways to be active, playful and true with your child including cooking together, picking berries, playing ball games and getting regular exercise, making music, and more! 

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Resource Guide

Project I-LAUNCH partnered with OPEN MSU to create a Substance Use Pregnancy and Parenting resource guide that includes contact information and resources for tribal health and behavioral health clinics, tribal home visiting, syringe service programs, and recovery services.

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Wisdom Keeper Video Series

Children don’t need perfect parents. They need parents and grandparents to make time, listen, be curious and love them unconditionally. It’s our job to care for and spend time with our children so they realize their potential.

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Join The Young Child Wellness Advisory Council (YCWAC)

This Council aims to create space for dedicated parents, community staff, and family members to share their voice and vision for young child wellness. If you are passionate about the wellbeing of children and families, please join our Young Child Wellness Advisory Council Meetings (held quarterly) and/or contact one of the members below.


Michelle Leask (Schulte):
Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan 

Ashley Seppanen:
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community 

Julia Schroeder:
or Kendra Kleiman:
Hannahville Indian Community 

Lauren Ryskey:
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians 

Laura McKechnie:
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians



Since 2012, ITCMI has been working with Tribes and Tribal Citizens across Michigan to erase the silos across services and programs that serve children 0-8 and their families. From community discussions to strategy innovation and implementation, everyone involved has been working to elevate the role of our early childhood providers, support parents and be more effective and efficient with existing resources in each community.

Additional Resources

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Publications Our Work Presentations Plain Language Training – Making a Proverb Come True...

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Additional Links

  • Upper Peninsula Community Resources
    • Here families, individuals, home visitors, and community organizations will find helpful tools, information, and resources to help answer questions, find resources, trainings, share documents, and find community partners.
  • ACF Video Series on Early Childhood Social Emotional Development and Mental Health and Caregiver Wellbeing
    • The Children’s Bureau in partnership with the Office of Early Childhood Development, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the Office of Head Start, and other federal partners, created a series of short videos to spotlight the importance of robust social emotional development and mental health support strategies within programs serving young children and their families.
    •’s vision is that all communities and human service organizations are proactively father-inclusive so that every child has an involved, responsible, and committed father in their lives.