Decolonize daily: Know your “here and now” with the Agenda Totonaltzin

Available now!

The Agenda and Manual Totonaltzin 2017 (Spanish) is a functional daily planner with plenty of room for notes and contact information.  Detailed descriptions of the corresponding daily numerals, year signs, day signs, trecenas, months (meztli), and other critical information are included.

This count is based on that of Maestro Arturo Meza with additional detail by Maestro Tlacatzin Stivalet.

The Agenda y Manual Totonaltzin 2017 is perfect for those seeking to decolonize as well as for danzantes and ceremony peoples.  The Mexica new year begins on March 11, 2017.

At this time the text is available in Spanish only.  Book dimensions: 7.25″ x 4.75″

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Price: $25 + international shipping ($7.50) = $32.50

Delivery within 21 days


The Agenda is produced by Identidad de Anahuac.

The text was written by Dr. Ma del Rosario Gonzalez Lopez (Ollin Yollotzin)
Dra. en Psicologia Clinica y Psicoterapia, UNAM
Maestria en Desarrollo Humano, ITESO
Especialista en Terapia Sistemica y Programacion Neurolinguistica e Hipnosis, IPSO
Diplomade en Derecho Indigena de Anahua, UAEM
Consultorio Clinico en Psicoterapia Individual y Grupal
Capacitacion y Desarrollo Humano

Bibliography
Bibliography

Anahuac identity: Totonaltzin, our sacred birth energy

As published in the Agenda y Manual Totonaltzin, translated by Iris Rodriguez

We are in the beautiful dawn of nahui cuauhtli (four eagle) of the Sixth Sun, a new era that has just begun to blossom.  We must reclaim our ways of Anahuac in the ways we feel, perceive and think as cosmic beings.  As “indians” they colonized us.  As people of Anahuac we free ourselves by reclaiming our dignity and our will.  We are all the center of the universe and each of us has a starting point in time.

AVAILABLE NOW
AVAILABLE NOW and in time for Mexica new year (March 11, 2016.) Link to purchase below.

Who am I, here and now?  Who do I think I am?  Who do I want to be?

As people of Anahuac we become ever more conscious of the responsibility we have inherited from the Anahuac of the quinto sol (fifth sun.)  They were the ones who documented cyclical sequences in time.

We were invaded and subsequently called “indians,” stripped of our identity, methods and customs.  We were subjugated to their hegemonic system.  In this new dawn of the Sexto Sol, our work is to decodify our “here and now” and become responsible in sharing these ancestral knowledge so that it may flower once again.  The message our grandfather the venerable Cuauhtemotzin said was our most precious treasure – our cosmic identity.

It is important to start this work now by understanding and living the Totonalztin (our sacred birth energy) daily, along with the energies that manifest each day cycle so that we begin to integrate ourselves to nature and the cosmos.

agendaThe daily “tonalpohualli” (day count) of 260 days in a ritual and ceremonial calendar, interrelating to the Xiuhmopilli (the solar count of 365.25 days) as it is written on our sacred solar stone, which represents our cosmoperception and cosmonogy from the birth of this planet, our sacred mother earth.

This knowledge of Anahuac of time and the changes of the day and night is essential.  It is the base of individual and collective growth.

This method of perceiving reality gives us coherence and meaning to our lives as we discover the strengths and posibilities in each sign of the day count, the same way that each number affiliated with that sign has its own attributes and qualities.  These form the base of understanding events such as a birth, agricultural cycles, the start of projects, and daily work.  All of this is contained in the count of days.  This agenda along with the manual is a tool that helps students begin their search to find themselves in the here and now (nican axcan.)  This high level of consciousness lives inside each of us.  All of this gives us the base to live a daily life in harmony with all that surrounds us.

Available now

The Agenda and Manual Totonaltzin 2016 (Spanish) is a functional daily planner (with plenty of room for notes and contact information) that also contains the traditional day count.  The manual contains detailed descriptions of the corresponding numerals, year signs, day signs, trecenas, months (meztli), and other critical ancestral knowledge of our individual and collective time and place.

The Agenda y Manual Totonaltzin is perfect for those seeking to decolonize as well as for danzantes and ceremony peoples.  The Mexica new year begins on March 11, 2016 (according to the gregorian calendar) and this manual is intended for use within this cycle.  At this time the text is available in Spanish only.  Book dimensions: 7.25″ x 4.75″

Price: $25 plus international shipping ($7.50) = $32.50 (delivery within 7-10 days)

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agenda

The Agenda is produced by Identidad de Anahuac.

The text was written by Dr. Ma del Rosario Gonzalez Lopez (Ollin Yollotzin)
Dra. en Psicologia Clinica y Psicoterapia, UNAM
Maestria en Desarrollo Humano, ITESO
Especialista en Terapia Sistemica y Programacion Neurolinguistica e Hipnosis, IPSO
Diplomade en Derecho Indigena de Anahua, UAEM
Consultorio Clinico en Psicoterapia Individual y Grupal
Capacitacion y Desarrollo Humano

Bibliography
Bibliography

The return of the [email protected]

It has been said (before more than one sacred fire) that there will be a time when the [email protected] return and share the old ways with the people.  Some say that time is now.

Check out the following videos and decide for yourself:

La comunidad Tzeltal y la Comida posted on FB by Todo sobre Mexico:


Son: Venado recién nacido posted on FB by Yoreme Yaqui – chapayecas:


Regaining Our Harmony Through the Tonalpohualli

A great expression from an old grass roots publication newsletter. It beautifully describes a practical importance for the Tonalpohualli. Enjoy

Regaining Our Harmony Through the Tonalpohualli

by Luis R. Pesia

A subject that in my experience in Chicano Studies, or other areas where our ancestral culture is discussed, that is touched upon but never really understood is the count of the daily solar energies, or Tonalpohualli in Nahuatl. The Tonalpohualli is understanding the science of the movement of heavenly bodies such as the sun, the moon, and the other planets.

In many classes that I have taken ranging from Chicano Studies, anthropology, and his-story, the Tonalpohualli is mentioned and superficially described, but its understanding and importance in the lives, societies, and knowledge of o u r “pre-columbian” grandmothers and grandfathers is never brought into the picture.

Tonalpohualli | Aztec Calendar

When I take a look at the civilizations we once had and the countless sites that archeologists now call ruins, I ask myself how it was that we organized ourselves to build our cities, conduct our institutions, and to have that spirituality, the knowledge, and wisdom that represents our traditions ,t  h e Tonalpohualli gives part of the answer to my question.

The Tonalpohualli is the count of the days through the use of 20 signs and the numbers 1-13. The day, the year, and the thirteen day period, I will call trecena in Spanish, are the basic time segments that are given a name of a sign along with a number. For example the year can be 12 tochtli (rabbit), the day 5 kalli (house), and the trecena under the sign of ocelotl.

The trecena is given by the first sign of those thirteen days and each of the twenty signs is a first sign to its own trecena. I can take a lot more space to give further details but, it is better understood when one is taking part in the calculations of your own birthday.

The Tonalpohualli had several important aspects to it that contributed to the well-being of the person and the people as a whole. Daily people were born and according to the position of the planets, the moon, and the earth, the child born acquired certain energies and relationships with the cosmos that defined the characteristics she or he would have in their life.

By being able to know what the child possessed the society could better tell what their strengths and weaknesses were going to be. When a person knows their strengths, they are better suited to do a certain task that in others might be a weakness. By knowing the strength of the child, society would encourage those strengths in that child through schooling and teachings to reach the highest possible attainments and by doing so, be more able to reach a maximum productivity.

In this way every person had their task, had their job that best benefited the people as a whole. When it comes to the child’s weaknesses, she or he were educated to have discipline in those areas and to work on strengthening those weaknesses in order to not disgrace themselves and their family and not become a burden to society.

Another important aspect of the Tonalpohualli was that it provided all with a sense of belonging and importance. By knowing their place in society a person knew their uniqueness and importance to the society at large and therefore the Tonalpohualli gave to the child an identity and a connection to the group.

The tlamatinime gave the child a face, meaning an identity, and a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. A third aspect of the Tonalpohualli and its importance was that it gave the child a name. Depending on the sign and the number that the sign was under determined what the child would be called. An example of this was Ze Akatl Topiltzin

tonal 1

Ketzalzoatl. He was born on the day and year Ze Akatl (one reed) and therefore became part of his name. In this way all were known to all and what their importance was in maintaining the harmony and the balance in society.

In these ways that the Tonalpohualli served the people before the invasion of this western “civilization”, destroyer of our culture, we can apply them to us as [email protected] today. As I look into our  present communities, the lack of identity, of self-worth and self-esteem, and of feelings of alienation are abundant amongst our people, especially the youth.

Mexican and American education have only served to produce “good” citizens that work to keep this system of exploitation, oppression, and destruction going. Our children today have no where to go to make them feel not only wanted but needed. Gangs are the closest thing in our communities that contain some remnants of what the Tonalpohualli offers, such as name giving and a sense of belonging.

Identity is there but as a cholo from a certain neighborhood named after a street, a park, a concept, or a housing project. I feel that the Tonalpohualli can today contribute to redirect our people’s minds, hearts, and lives towards that path which our ancestors walked on. Name giving according to the Tonalpohualli can reinforce an Indigenous identity instead of a foreign Spaniard one.

This negation of our roots contributes to the psychological warfare that this society has been conducting on our people. This material consumer society influences us towards a life of taking, a life of selfishness to do for the individual and not for the community and much less the future generations. In these times we as a people are not creators of anything only imitators of everything that euro¬america has to offer, and that is nothing more than ignorance and stupidity.

There is a reason why the Indigenous population (Xikano, Navaho, Mexika, Maya, etc.) in prison is increasing as well as the atrocities we do to each other. That  reason is to keep us blind to the truths that whites must have slave labor to keep the US and themselves at the top while they destroy the Earth and all of creation through their wars, their technology, and their pursuit of “happiness”. Let us do away with this and at least begin to follow that road to balance and harmony that describes Indigenous societies through the Tonalpohualli if we are really serious in changing things for our  people, our children, and for creation.

OMETEOTL.

Written by: LUIS R. PESIA

 

Content courtesy of:
mexica

Basic Indigenous Ethics

Macehualli Traditional Code of Conduct

This is a list of Basic Indigenous Ethics or Code of Conduct compiled from various sources.  No matter your spiritual experience or knowledge, we all need helpful reminders to keep us on track. The majority of these bullet points on manners and state of mind are from the book The Sacred Tree and random internet posts I’ve come across. You will see these to be good,  practical, and universal teachings. These Indigenous Etiquette  bullet points shed a little more light on the Circular Mentality teaching. When reading this code of conduct please reflect on how the practice  of these can affect The Four Circles.

Macehualli Telpochcalli Ethics

  • Be tolerant of those who are lost on their path. Who show ignorance, or conceit, and anger, remember, jealousy and greed stem from a lost soul. Pray that all will find right guidance.

  • Respect all things that are placed upon this earth, whether it be people, animals, land, or elements.

  • Honor other people’s thoughts, wishes and words. Never interrupt another or mock or rudely mimic them. Allow each person the right to personal expression.

  • Never speak of others in a bad way. The negative energy that you put out into the universe will return to you.

  • No person should be made to feel “put down” by you; avoid hurting other hearts as you would avoid a deadly poison.

  • Bad thoughts cause illness of the mind, body and spirit. Practice optimism.

  • Make conscious decisions as to who you will be and how you will react. Be responsible for your own actions.

  • Respect others religious beliefs. Do not force your beliefs on others.

  • Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of elders, strangers or others to whom special respect is due.

  • Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel that what they are saying is worthless. Listen with your heart.

  • To serve others, to be of some use to family, community, nation or the world is one of the main purposes for which human beings have been created. Do not fill yourself with your own affairs and forget your most important task. True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others.

  • Observe moderation and balance in all things.
  • Know those things that lead to your well-being, and those things that lead to your destruction.

  • Listen to and follow the guidance given to your heart. Expect guidance to come in many forms; in prayer, in dreams, meditation,  in times of quiet solitude,  and in the words and deeds of wise elders and friends.

  • Touch nothing that belongs to someone else (especially sacred objects) without permission, or an understanding between you.

  • Respect the privacy of every person. Never intrude on a person’s quiet moments or personal space.

  • Never walk between or interrupt  people that are conversing

 

Content courtesy of:
mexica

Our Sacred Maiz Is Our Mother: Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas

Republished with permission from the author as originally published on Truthout
By Roberto Cintli Rodriguez

Rodriguez_Cover_9780816530618 copy 2I’ve written or edited several books in my life and each of them have been special, especially since most were banned by Tucson’s school district during the state’s infamous battle in Arizona to eliminate Raza Studies. However, this one, Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother, released early by the University of Arizona Press, seems to be a little more special. Perhaps it is so because it speaks to a topic that recognizes no borders and connects peoples from across this continent, and it is a story that arguably goes back some 7,000 years.

The actual title of this book is Nin Tonantzin Non Centeotl. Translated, it means  – Nuestro Maíz sagrado es Nuestra Madre – Our Sacred Maíz is our Mother. Only the English appears on the front cover. However, Nin Tonantzin Non Centeotl does appear on the title page, along with the names of 9 Indigenous elders or teachers who contributed maíz origin/creation/migration stories from throughout Abya Yala, Cemanahuac or Pacha Mama – from throughout the continent: Veronica Castillo Hernandez, Maestra Angelbertha Cobb, Luz Maria de la Torre, Paula Domingo Olivares, Tata Cuaxtle Felix Evodio, Maria Molina Vai Sevoi, Francisco Pos, Irma Tzirin Scoop and Alicia Seyler.

Each of the ancestral stories they wrote, or relate, is a treasure unto itself, each from a different people or pueblo from throughout the continent. The same thing applies to the artwork; each one is also a priceless treasure, depicting maíz  in a most special way. The artists include: Laura V. Rodriguez, Tanya Alvarez, Grecia Ramirez, Paz Zamora, Pola Lopez, Mario Torero and Veronica Castillo Hernandez.

Already, I have been asked what the primary message of the book is. Each person will take away something different, but for me, my simple answer is that the title and front cover say it all: Nin Tonantzin Non Centeotl – Our Sacred Maíz is our Mother. For some, no further explanation is required.

The message resonates because it comes from somewhere profound… from a place of ancestors. Its message is: We are people of maíz. This is where we come from. This is what we are made of. This is who we are. Most Indigenous peoples form maíz–based cultures instinctively understand this message.

If you are reading this without seeing, or not having seen, the image, the front cover is a genuine amoxtli or codex unto itself, painted by Laura V. Rodriguez. It tells the ancient Nahua story of Maíz from the Chimalpopoca Codex – of the ants of Quetzalcoatl – and how it is that humans received the maíz. Truly, the imagery and message are both stunning. Again, it is a story, one of many ancient stories actually, that is thousands of years old, stories that were initially suppressed during the colonial era, but now are back, not as part of an extinct culture, but as part of living cultures that exist throughout the continent, including in what is today the United States.

More than that, there is a specific message for peoples of the Americas that have been de-Indigenized, disconnected and severed from their traditions, languages and stories: despite 522 years of European presence, most remain connected to maiz culture. In particular, this applies to peoples with Mexican and Central American and Andean origins that live in the United States. And thus the message: Okichike Ka Centeotzintli or “Made from Sacred Maiz.” After all, many if not most of the peoples from these communities eat maíz (tortillas), beans and chile, virtually on a daily basis. Along with squash and cactus, these foods are Indigenous to this continent.

This is not the message brown children receive in school. It is not the message they receive in the media and it is not the message they receive from government institutions.

The message in the book is that they are not foreigners, that they are not aliens and that contrary to what the US Census bureau promotes, that they are not white. Instead, the message is that they are children of maíz – part of Indigenous cultures on this continent that are many, many thousands of years old.

In effect, this message was banned during the colonial era… and also in present-day Arizona… the whole country, actually. This message, in effect, was made illegal (HB 2281) by politicians who think that only Greco-Roman culture should be taught in US schools. Maíz culture is the story of this continent… though in reality, it is one of the great stories of this continent (salmon, buffalo). These cultures produced not simply civilizations, but also produced values and ethos such as In Lak Ech -Tu eres mi otro yo and Panche Be – To seek the root of the truth. And it is precisely these and related values that were continually attacked during that battle to destroy Raza Studies.

But just as knowledge cannot be destroyed, neither can values and ethos be destroyed. Yes, a program was shut down, but that is temporary.

Another part of the message for this continent is, in Nahuatl: non kuahuitl cintli in tlaneplantla: the maiz tree is the center of the universe. The related message is that for those reasons, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect maiz from the multinational transgenic corporations that have literally stolen and hijacked our sacred sustenance. And it is not just the maíz that they have stolen and desecrated; they have done this or are attempting to do this to all of our crops…not just the sacred foods of this continent, but of the entire world. Because indeed we are what we eat, exposure to highly toxic (pesticides and herbicides) and genetically modified foods is highly dangerous, not simply to human beings and all life, but to the entire planet.

More than part of a de-colonial process, writing this book is part of an affirmation that as human beings, we are sacred because our mother is sacred… and on this continent, maíz is our mother.

This book is a compilation of elder or ancestral knowledge from throughout the continent, and as noted, it contains the simplest of messages, contained in both the front cover and the title.

The simple idea of this book was to counter-act… actually this book is not meant to counter anything. It is meant to affirm the thousands-of-years maíz–based cultures – to affirm that we are Indigenous to this continent – and to assert our full humanity, along with our full human rights, this in a society that brands us as illegitimate, unwelcome and nowadays illegal.

As Indigenous peoples continue to affirm: We cannot be illegal on our own continent. And yet more than that, the simple message of the humble maíz is that there is no such thing as an illegal human being anywhere. That is the primary message of the book.

Freedom Babies

“This documentary follows Kanahus over the course of a year as she raises her babies decolonized and free from the restrictions of the Canadian government. Kanahus and her father, Arthur Manuel, reminisce about the plight they have faced against the Canadian government in their effort to fight against colonization by encouraging Indigenous people to live free. She leads by example by living traditionally according to her First Nations culture, living off the land and in an underground earth pit house. Kanahus and Guateberi raise their four children in a warrior school that teaches the traditional values of respect for the land and taking care of the people. Kanahus, defies the laws that oppress and colonize her people by not registering her four children with the Canadian government. She’s been imprisoned and beaten, the police have broken into and ransacked her home without a search warrant, but she is as determined as the day she began this journey thirteen years ago. She educates her children decolonized as Freedom Babies.”

LINK:  http://freedombabies2014.com/index.html

Curanderismo: Traditional Medicine

"Curandera" by Carmen Lomas Garza

Original post found on Coursera.

"Curandera" by Carmen Lomas Garza
“Curandera” by Carmen Lomas Garza

This free 8 week online course “will provide information on the history, traditions, rituals, herbs and remedies and video demonstrations of Curanderismo, a folk healing tradition of the Southwestern United States, Latin America and Mexico. The course will discuss the effectiveness of traditional medicine in order to meet the needs of many people, especially the uninsured.

Taught by Eliseo (Cheo) Torres of the  University of New Mexico

About the Course

This online course will provide information on the history, traditions, rituals, herbs and remedies and video demonstrations of Curanderismo, a folk healing tradition of the Southwestern United States, Latin America and Mexico.  The course will be divided up into thematic modules such as traditional plants, body cupping, traditional massage, juice therapy, energetic cleansings, laugh therapy, shawl alignments, and the traditional Mexican sweatlodge.   The course will discuss the effectiveness of traditional medicine in order to meet the needs of many people, especially the uninsured.  The thematic modules will consist of a short video with a well-known healer followed by a short quiz.

Course Format

The instructor will present a welcome video describing the course syllabus followed by a Power Point presentation on the topic of “curanderismo,” traditional/folk medicine.
Each unit will consist of a video presentation by a well-known traditional healer from Mexico, Peru and the United States and will focus on a particular theme.  The hands-on demonstrations will be followed by additional readings and discussions on effectiveness of traditional and complimentary medicine which has been revived and recently gained popularity throughout the world.  There will be a translator in the videos for two or three healers from Mexico and Peru who speak Spanish.
• 30 minute Introduction of course and weekly themes
• 20 minute lecture/demonstration videos
• Short quizzes after each video
• Homework including reading of books and articles after each module”

 

To sign up and obtain more information click here:  https://www.coursera.org/course/traditionalmedicine

Breastfeeding is Food Sovereignty

Story courtesy of Well Bound Storytellers and Vision Maker Media’s Growing Native blog

breastfeeding food sovereignty

By Ann Seacrest

Years ago I was honored to visit with some of the elders on the Yavapai reservation in Arizona.  I listened to their stories of being taken from their homes as young children, being criticized by their own children who are regaining a sense of their Native ways, and dealing with the challenges of their grandchildren, who are facing a high suicide rate.

Their stories penetrated my heart. Growing up near the Sisseton/Wahpeton Dakota Reservation in South Dakota, I have come to respect Native cultures. I want to help Native mothers who want to breastfeed their babies.

Perhaps MilkWorks can find a way to take inspiration from the Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington and partner with Native women in Nebraska or South Dakota to encourage, support and lend a hand.

A Little History

Breastfeeding is not unique to humans. All 4,000 species of mammals produce milk designed specifically for their infants. The first mammary glands evolved some 160 million years ago to provide nutrients and protective factors.  Human infants have surprisingly few physical abilities in their first six months of life. Yet one of their most vigorous instincts when placed on their mother’s chest – moments after being born – is an ability to lift their heavy head, open their mouth, and latch to their mother’s breast. The dream of every newborn!

Unfortunately, we have done much to interfere with this very natural, but complex, protective process that is designed to ward off illnesses, inhibit inflammation, heal diseases, provide nutrition, promote brain growth, and help a human infant learn how to trust others. What a big order for this substance called mother’s milk!

Mothers make milk because they give birth to a baby. The baby suckles and milk is removed, which makes more milk. When removal stops, the milk goes away.

The World Health Organization recommends that human infants have no other foods or liquids than human milk for the first six months of their lives, with breastfeeding to continue once solids are introduced for at least two years.

Indigenous cultures incorporated feeding at the breast as part of the natural cycle of womanhood.  Babies were born, and they were carried and held close to protect them from wild animals and other dangers. Mothers went about their daily lives with their babies strapped to their bodies –safe and secure.  Breastfeeding for several years played a strong role in spacing pregnancies, protecting the health of both mothers and their babies. Only in very isolated indigenous populations does this practice continue to this day.

From the beginning of life, infant feeding has been influenced by religious, political and economic factors. Historically, if a mother could not feed her own baby, another mother, or a wet nurse, would feed her baby.

Breastfeeding was virtually abandoned in industrialized societies by the 1960s because of multiple, complex factors. Women entered the work force outside the home and were separated from their babies. Mass immigration led to poor living conditions, high maternal death rates and crowded urban environments. Baby doctors took the place of grandmothers in passing down feeding wisdom. The Space Age was fascinated with commercially made food products, and human breasts became part of girlie magazines, isolated from their role as a feeding tool.

Human milk, a complex bodily fluid that evolved over centuries of adaptation to diverse living situations, was replaced by processed cow’s milk, altered to provide necessary nutrients. (It is fascinating to note that about 75% of indigenous people are intolerant to cow’s milk.)

Isolated indigenous populations continued to breastfeed their babies.  But people who were moved to urban areas, such as the Ojibwe in northern Minnesota, or indigenous children that were sent to boarding schools, faced issues that interrupted breastfeeding.

Young girls lost contact with their grandmothers, who taught them the ways of being a woman. Extended families were now isolated in individual homes. Urbanization led to higher rates of poverty and exposure to western diets high in sugars and processed foods.

The exact diseases that breastfeeding helps to prevent – diabetes, obesity, ear and respiratory illnesses, and hypertension – skyrocketed in urban indigenous populations around the world.

When mothers stopped breastfeeding, low income women could not pay for formula.  The federal government stepped in and gave low income women free formula, conveying an attitude that formula must be better than breastfeeding.

Today, breastfeeding rates are highest among well educated, higher income women who are not given free formula and may feel more empowered to make their own decisions about how they feed their babies.

Positive Outcomes

A 2007 meta-analysis of 9,000 research studies conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that infants who are NOT breastfed have significantly higher rates of acute infections, eczema, asthma, obesity, diabetes, childhood leukemia, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Mothers who do not breastfeed their children have higher rates of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as an increased incidence of type II diabetes.

Kanesatake, a community in Mohawk territory in Canada, found that only 32% of their babies were breastfeed at birth. (In Nebraska, 80% of all babies are breastfed at birth for some period of time.)

They determined that mothers chose not to breastfed for the same reasons that non-indigenous mothers cited:  sore nipples, uncertainty about their milk supply, returning to work or school, lack of information and a lack of family support.

The community realized that infant feeding behaviors are deeply rooted in a set of cultural values and that interventions needed to reflect their traditions. They hired a grandmother who knew the young mothers and cared for their children.  She provided accurate information about breastfeeding from an oral tradition and gently involved the whole community in supporting breastfeeding mothers.

Breastfeeding rates gradually increased and mothers in this community are now providing support to each other to improve the health status of their babies and their people.

An Ojibwe traditional educator summarized breastfeeding by saying that “Breast milk is a gift and a medicine a mother gives her child.” We know that in order to help all mothers provide this gift and this medicine we need to create a community of support.  Family members, employers and health care providers need to value breastfeeding and provide accurate information and support services that meet the needs of all mothers.

Breastfeeding is real food for babies.  It provides the best nutrition, helps a baby feel safe and secure, costs no money and results in no environmental pollution. The issue is reaching mothers and their support systems to adapt breastfeeding practices and beliefs to women’s lives in the 21st century. A daunting task, but one that is well worth pursuing!

Links with Additional Information:

Editor’s Note: ”Breastfeeding is Food Sovereignty” photo of Camie Jae Goldhammer (Sisseton-Wahpeton), MSW, LICSW, IBCLC courtesy of the Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington. Camie is the founder and chair. You can buy the shirt and other cool items at their store.

Ann Seacrest, BA, BSN, IBCLC, RN is a registered nurse, board certified lactation consultant, mother of four children and the Executive Director of MilkWorks, a non-profit community breastfeeding center in Lincoln, Nebraska. MilkWorks provides a wide range of services for breastfeeding mothers. No mother is denied services based upon ability to pay. www.milkworks.org

Article forwarded by Anayanse