In conjunction with Moira Villiard’s Exhibit: Rights of the Child →
Saturday, April 9th 2-4pm
Participate In-House or Online
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In conjunction with multidisciplinary artist Moira Villiard’s Exhibit “Rights of the Child” Watermark Art Center will hold a panel discussion regarding the rights and policies implemented by governments that invest in child development such as health care, nutrition and stronger safeguards intended to protect children from violence and exploitation. Villiard argues that in order to recognize children as human beings beyond belonging to their parents or community, children should receive their human rights.
According to the United Nations, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989 created an international framework on separating childhood and adulthood to ensure the protection of children. It ensures governments implement policies that invest in child development such as health care, nutrition and “stronger safeguards in place to protect children from violence and exploitation.”
While the U.S. has signed the convention, it is the only member of the UN that has not ratified it.
According to UNICEF, “A child is neither a property of their parents nor are they helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are subject to their own rights.”
This definition addresses the contradictions society has of children: while society sees children as vulnerable, children are often not adequately protected by policy.
Moira Villiard is a multidisciplinary artist with a mixed Indigenous and settler heritage who uses art to uplift underrepresented narratives, explore the nuance of society’s historical community intersections, and promote community healing spaces. Moira (pronounced “Mee-Ree”) is a dynamic visual artist, proficient in a variety of artistic genres, including portraiture, illustration, graphic and digital design and as a muralist. She is also a community organizer, curator and passionate arts educator concentrating her efforts around issues of equity and justice including: arts access (creating platforms for underrepresented communities within the arts), creative placemaking, environmental sustainability, youth empowerment, and acknowledgement of Indigenous land, culture, and history.
Cheri Goodwin, LGSW, MSW, Red Lake Nation Band Member and Executive Director of Ombimindwaa Gidinawemaaganinaadog, has been working with the Red Lake Nation since 2015 to develop a new approach to child and family services.
The new approach is focused on keeping families together by looking at their strength and resiliency through a Native lens. This requires a dismantling of the way the services have been delivered for decades.
Instead of referring to the people the tribe serves as clients, it now calls them relatives. Foster parents are known as “relative care community service providers,” and the process formerly known as child protection case management is now called “reunification services.” Even the department has a new name: Ombimindwaa Gidinawemaaganinaadog: “Uplifting All of Our Relatives.”
Nevada Littlewolf (Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) is the Page Amendment Campaign Manager & Executive Director. Before joining the team, Nevada served as Minnesota’s state Political Director for the 2020 Biden Presidential Campaign. She brings years of experience to the team, having worked across sectors of community, government, philanthropy, non-profit, and business. Nevada served on the Virginia City Council for ten years from 2008-2018. Nevada is a citizen of Leech Lake nation and has two children.
Shaawano Uran (White Earth Anishinaabe) is an artist, musician and Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at Bemidji State University. He has dedicated his career to the revitalization of Indigenous languages as a part of community building. As an advocate for tribal sovereignty, Indigenous scholar, and as an adoptee, Shaawano lends us his voice and personal experiences of how Indigenous relationality and sovereignty may translate to the rights of children.
Additional panelists may join the conversation.