Skye’s Legacy

The Importance of Belonging

First Nations Principles of Learning, Dr. Martin Brokenleg

Dr. Martin Brokenleg is a co-author of the book Reclaiming Youth at Risk:  Our Hope for the Future and co-developer of the Circle of Courage model that had a profound influence on the RCY team that worked on Skye’s Legacy: A Focus on Belonging. His influence continued as a member of the Advisory Circle that reviewed Skye’s story and helped RCY make sense of the findings. In this nine-minute video, Dr. Brokenleg speaks to the First Nations Principles of Learning, the importance of identity and the Circle of Courage model. On belonging, Dr. Brokenleg says, “Belonging is the most necessary human experience – it is in every child … Belonging is a strategy, it is a philosophy – a way to look at the world. Everything belongs somewhere. Every human being should belong to someone. We should train ourselves to respond with belonging and to write it into every policy … Belonging should be a theme … But when a teenager is in crisis, how do [systems] respond – with unbelonging … We give it other kinds of names, like time out … zero tolerance … out of school suspension. This is the wrong response. What you want to do when a person is in crisis, is surround them with special connections. We want to train ourselves to respond with belonging.”

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