The Quapaw Nation Indian Child Welfare (ICW) program hosted its first Child Abuse Awareness pinwheel ceremony on Tuesday, April 11. The event, held in recognition of April as Child Abuse Awareness Month, aimed to show support for children who have suffered from abuse or neglect over the last year.
The pinwheel, which represents playfulness, joy, and childhood, was chosen as a physical reminder of the great childhoods that everyone wants for children. In attendance were members of the Quapaw Business Committee, Larry Mercer, Michelle Newton, Callie Bowden, and Wena Supernaw, as well as representatives from the Seneca Cayuga Tribe, Eastern Shawnee Tribe, Peoria Tribe, Miami Tribe, Ottawa Tribe, Wyandotte Nation and the Shawnee Tribe.
The ceremony began with a sacred tradition of the Quapaw Nation, where all attendees were smoked and blessed before they proceeded to place a blue pinwheel in the ground. The Quapaw Nation ICW program actively works to combat child abuse and neglect, providing services for children in danger, neglected children, or children in abusive homes. They are also continuously adding more services to help those in need.
“Spreading awareness on Child Abuse prevention is very important,” said Ashleigh McCloud, O-Gah-Pah Learning Center Director. “We at O-Gah-Pah Learning Center feel children should be heard, we don’t want them to feel alone. Children keep a lot about themselves secret, due to embarrassment or retaliation from the abuser. We want children to have the confidence to come to a trusted adult, and have the words to express what kind of violence has taken place and then give them the resources needed to overcome the trauma.”
The Quapaw Nation has also partnered with the "Anti-Violence Project," a one-hour special set to air on May 1 hosted by Howie Nunnally. The program will focus on issues in the community and feature the Quapaw Nation's Ki-Ho-Ta Center and its services. May 1 has been declared Anti-Violence Awareness Day by the Quapaw Nation Business Committee.
The pinwheel ceremony is just one of the many initiatives that the Quapaw Nation ICW program is undertaking to protect the most vulnerable resource: children. The event is an important reminder to stand up against child abuse and neglect and to work together to ensure that all children have the opportunity for a safe and happy childhood.
Overall, the pinwheel ceremony was a moving and meaningful tribute to the children who have suffered from abuse or neglect. By partnering with other organizations and tribes and raising awareness through events like the pinwheel ceremony, the Quapaw Nation is taking important steps to combat child abuse and ensure that children receive the care and support they deserve.