#1stSacredFood My Journey Reconnecting to Community and Building Breastfeeding in Native Communities
As a mother who breastfed her babies I was very excited to be a part of the Native Breastfeeding Twitter Chat during the 2015 Gathering Of Nations Powwow, where we live tweeted from the breastfeeding tent. Coming up with hashtag ideas for our chat was fun me and my coworkers Esperanza had a blast trying to come up with different cool unique hashtags. I really had to dig deep when coming up with different words that describe Native breastfeeding and what that really meant and it actually brought me back to who I really am and where I came from. Been gone from home for so long I have set myself apart from my culture and traditions and have made me think a lot about my great grandmother. She helped me through my pregnancy and those first couple months of learning how to breastfeed my baby; I miss her very much!! I was raised by my great aunt, and great grandmother whom I am very thankful, and grateful for.
I met all walks of life while greeting and inviting people to the breastfeeding tent and twitter chat. Being around other Natives was very heartwarming, and I was very surprised how everyone was so supportive of breastfeeding. People were ready to have their picture taken holding a “I Support Breastfeeding” sign. I had a great time finding supporters because just about everyone I asked was more than happy and willing to openly show their support for breastfeeding. Local businesses, individual people, and whole families stood proud to show they believe in getting babies rooted in nutrition
I represent the Pueblo of Zuni Indian Reservation which is among one of the most traditional of tribes. The Zuni community, Zuni WIC program and ‘Keeping Children Healthy in Zuni Coalition’ are in big support of promoting breastfeeding as one of the efforts to prevent or delay development of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Not only is breastfeeding healthy for both mother and baby, there is also a sacred bond is developed and baby gains trust security and stability. Through these programs women receive the care and support needed to raise strong,healthy babies. But the support is meant for all families, for some mothers who just can’t supply enough breast milk for their babies, are given alternatives provided with solutions to make sure both mother and baby are getting what they need.
More support for breastfeeding mothers is needed in our own communities, having breastfeeding, baby-friendly environments would help support mothers who will return back to school and provide mothers going to work a chance to pump breastmilk for their babies while working Perhaps by educating and gaining knowledge on breastfeeding we can fight and prevent many of the diseases that are killing off our Native people. Lets keep babies rooted in nutrition and tradition. #1stSacredFood
Make sure you check out some of the beautiful photos of support from this year’s Gathering of Nations Powwow below!