Multidisciplinary, strategic communication & creative professional + artisan — Selena has 15+yrs experience writing for acclaimed publications, brand building, design + community-centred advocacy.
When I became a mother, I felt an urgent need to learn my mother tongue
It’s hard to learn Ojibway and teach it to my son at the same time. But, like countless other Indigenous parents, I’m determined to keep my language alive.
Not hearing Ojibway as a kid was something I didn’t give much thought to—probably because I didn’t know any different. No one spoke the language in my home.
My mother, a former student of several residential schools, was ashamed of being Indigenous. In fact, she would sometimes tell people she was French. I grew up unsure of my identity, t...
How I’m raising my daughter to be 100 percent, unapologetically Indigenous
I want my daughter to see that an Indigenous way of life isn’t an alternative lifestyle but a priority. It is essential, then, that I return to the parenting principles of my ancestors and consciously integrate Indigenous kinship practices into her childhood.
When my daughter was born, my partner and I knew we wanted her to grow up with the innate knowledge that she has the power to be herself—100 percent, unapologetically Indigenous. It was essential, then, that I returned to the parenting p...
How adopting my daughter helped me reconnect with my roots
After adopting my daughter, I was committed to helping her grow up to be a proud Indigenous woman. And in the process, I became one, too.
When I was a little girl, my appendix burst during surgery and I almost died on the operating table. My recovery was slow and complicated—my parents didn’t know if I’d live. During the weeks when I was in bed at the hospital—in great pain—my mom read a story to me about an older girl who grew up in the foster care system. She was afraid to be loved, but a c...
How trauma reverberates down through generations and affects kids
I’ve been on the receiving end of some very questionable comments. I’ve had people tell me that I was “lucky” I’m so pale and “don’t look like an Indian.” I’ve had someone laughingly point out a man sleeping in a park and refer to him as a “drunk Indian” before saying “no offence, I know you’re not like that.” And then on my wedding day, there I was mingling with guests when a woman came up and introduced herself. “I heard you’re a writer,” she said “And you’re First Nations?” “Partly, yes,” ...
Why our kids need to learn about residential schools
For more than a century, kids were systematically removed from their homes and sent to residential schools where they were forbidden to speak their language or practise their culture. But how do you talk about Canada’s cultural genocide with kids today? Teachers are finding some effective ways.
How would you feel, if this happened in your kid’s class? Last fall, a grade 6 social studies class outside of Edmonton was learning about residential schools. A student put up her hand and said, “I do...
39 great Indigenous stories to read and share with your kids
From beautiful board books to compelling tales to trenchant reads, here are great stories about Indigenous culture and issues to add to your bookshelf.
When will they stop acting like our children are disposable?
"After the Tina Fontaine verdict, I had to talk to my Native kids again about how to stay alive in Canada."
Raising our daughters in a (mostly) Inuktitut household
We are raising our daughters bilingually—so sometimes that means giving Paw Patrol characters Inuktitut names.
For a lot of Indigenous parents, the struggle to preserve language is harder than ever in a Paw Patrol world. Which is not a slight on everyone’s favourite dog squad, but rather just one example of how English culture dominates. For Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison—the husband and wife duo who are part of the five-member band The Jerry Cans—raising three young daughters in a (mostly) I...
What Four Directions Parenting Means to Me
By Selena Mills
Photo © @crystalmariesing via Twenty20
When you think of how your cultural traditions and beliefs have impacted your parenting, what comes to mind?
Has the influence been strong and dynamic? Through my children I am trying to heal from my own experiences. To evolve. I never want them to feel displaced, deceived or traumatized about their identity like I did. I want to enrich their lives with the blessings and the solidarity that comes from Indigenous practices and traditions. ...
Finding Art Activities For Boys When There Are Limited Options
BY SELENA MILLS
Photo © DelanahBanana/Twenty20
If you’re a parent like me, you’re keen on getting your son into arts programming, but you live in a city or town where there doesn't appear to be many options. Or maybe you live in a big city and you’re accustomed to seeing lots of options for girls in the arts, but not so much for boys. I wish I had an easy answer for you, but you know what’s coming. Indeed, Google is your friend. But so is talking to other parents in your community, or even th...
We Love Mama Bears: Free Downloadable Mother’s Day Cards
Without mothers, where would we be? Our own, other people’s mothers, mothers we admire from afar, older generations and younger generations. For all the original Mama Bears (now I need to make another card!), whose infinite superhero powers have existed since time immemorial, these cards are for you. Or for them, the ones you know and love. Be love, give love and spread it around. Hold it up.
Whether she’s near or far, take some time to appreciate the matrilineal bonds that are defined by lov...
How to Make Butter Slime | CBC Parents
With a few household ingredients, you can make fun and spreadable butter slime! Make bubbles and even poop emojis — there are no limits with a little imagination!
CBC Parents offers crafts, recipes and activities your family will love plus personal (often hilarious) stories from the trenches of raising kids: http://www.cbc.ca/parents
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Barrie Native Friendship Centre
Social Media Integration
Strategy | Layout
Social Media Consultation, Training + Admin
Video Editing | Social Video Production (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
Today's Parent Indigenous Package (May/June 2018 issue)
Co-produced and edited a package of First Nations, Métis and Inuit content for print (May/June 2018 issue) and an ongoing digital section.
Boys Get Body-Shamed Too
Over the weekend, my son was snuggled up on my lap — at 8 years old he can still fold himself up and into the crook of my armpit, which is something I treasure. And these days (OK, all days), there’s a discernible ache at the thought of him literally growing out of sitting on my lap. (Suffice it to say, I don’t find Munsch’s book I’ll Love You Forever so creepy anymore.)
That said, he’s also old enough to begin experiencing self-esteem issues revolving around his body and what he looks like. ...