Indigenous Milk Medicine Week: Indigenous Milk Medicine Heals
Jaclyn Roessel, Indigenous Milk Medicine Collective, Organizing Member
Indigenous milk medicine heals. This is an understanding of the Indigenous Milk Medicine Collective who will celebrate their fourth annual Indigenous Milk Medicine Week from August 8-14, 2022. As August is National Breastfeeding Month, the second week of the month is set aside to acknowledge Indigenous Milk Medicine Week.
Formerly known as Native Breastfeeding Week, Indigenous Milk Medicine Week (IMMW), highlights the nutritional significance and healing properties of Indigenous milk. IMMC believes that Native breastfeeding and chestfeeding is an act of defiance to the colonial systems and their imposed norms as well as a resilience of culture and body sovereignty. In decolonizing feeding practices, we support food sovereignty, traditional kinship practices, and the healing of the next generation. We understand that the traditions of milk medicine access, repair, and amplification are significantly tied to numerous gender equity issues experienced by identifying Indigenous women.
The 2022 theme for IMMW is Strengthening Our Traditions: From Birth and Beyond. This theme celebrates the bonds of our traditions and the impact that Indigenous milk has on our mind, body, and spirit from birth and beyond. It reminds us that we all play a role in supporting Indigenous milk, and that support extends beyond pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period.
This year we are proud to have partnered with Beyond Buckskin Boutique, an Indigenous business, to host our t-shirt fundraiser. This year’s event features the work of Kawahine Danner. Kawahine is a Iñupiaq/Native Hawaiian artist. She was born and raised in Utqiagvik, Alaska, and later moved to her Hawaiian homelands of Kauai, Hawaii, where she discovered her passion for art and culture. She currently creates visual pieces on Iñupiaq land through Kawahine Creations.
Kawahine’s design aligns seamlessly with this year’s theme. As she shares, “My design inspiration for this piece was nature. I chose visuals that draw parallels between motherhood and the earth. Breastfeeding is a true natural gift because it requires dedication, sacrifice, and love… all to nourish the next generation of Indigenous people. Our connection to breastfeeding and our connection to the earth goes back thousands of years.”
The Indigenous Milk Medicine Collective will convene daily events as part of our annual celebration. Daily events include our ongoing Virtual 5k and special Sunrise Ceremonies held each morning to start our day with intention. We encourage individuals to visit our website and follow our social media channels on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date announcements as the week progresses. We are proud to highlight the following events:
Men’s Role in Reproductive Justice and Maternal Health
Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at 6p ET/3p PT
This program will feature Indigneous male identifying advocates who will speak to the important role they can have in taking action in support of reproductive justice issues and the amplification of the critical need to continue milk medicine traditions.
Cradle Your Indigy Baby Virtual Event
Thursday, August 11th, 2022 – All Day
We invite our Indigenous relatives to “cradle their Indigy babies” whom they cared for and raised as a way to celebrate the strong traditions of milk medicine, culture, and care that have shaped their families. This is a virtual event, and individuals are asked to post pictures to their social channels and tag @IndigenousMilkMedicineWeek throughout the day.
Mindful Movement for Caregivers + Parents
Taught by Pearl Walker-Swaney (Standing Rock Sioux Tribe/White Earth Nation), this gentle and fun movement session is designed for all family members to join! Get your body moving to vibrant beats, fun shapes, and allowing your energy to flow through you. Leave this session refreshed, grounded, and clear. Grab a yoga mat or soft carpet spot, yoga props (i.e. blocks, books, pillows, rolled blankets), and your water bottle. This is a free event and donations to Pearl of Constant Motion Woman will be encouraged.
To learn about more events, purchase a IMMW tee, or find ways to register or take part, please visit our newly created website www.indigenousmilkmedicinecollective.org.
Please send your story ideas to Amy at [email protected].
Supporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always
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Donations of any amount are gratefully accepted. Thank you!
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