While thanksgiving is one of the most universal of human celebrations, few of us know of its brutal origins in the US. Thanksgiving was first memorialized in Connecticut after the 1637 massacre of 700 unarmed men, women and children of the Pequot tribe; “Days of Thanksgiving” continued to be celebrated following successful raids on native peoples.
Indigenous people in the US still suffer the effects of colonization, especially Native women who are subjected to violence in epidemic proportions. According to the Indian Law Resource Center:
- 80% of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence.
- 50% of American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced sexual violence.
- Non-Indians reportedly commit 96% of sexual violence against Native women.
- Alaska Native women report domestic violence up to 10 times higher than the national average.
- Indigenous women are murdered at more than ten times the national average on some reservations.
- Native children who are exposed to violence suffer rates of PTSD three times higher than the national average.
The National Congress of American Indians, and the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women are just two of the organizations working to stem this epidemic. In 2018, the US Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women awarded more than $35 million in grants to combat violence against women in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
RESOURCES FOR NATIVE BIRTHING WOMEN
One of the purposes of these grants is to increase resources for Native women, who also disproportionally suffer from health disparities. To combat these disparities, Tewa Women United of Northern New Mexico offers Native women culturally sensitive support for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and postpartum. Pregnancy and birth are times when women are particularly vulnerable and Native women, already at risk for violence, especially need culturally sensitive care during these times. Here is a list of culturally sensitive resources for Native women who are pregnant or giving birth.
Indigenous Doula Programs
- Aboriginal Doula Training
- Bami-Ondaadiziike Doula Program
- Manitoba Doula Initiative
- Tewa Women United
Birth Justice Doula Programs
- Ancient Song Doula Services
- Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association
- Commonsense Childbirth
- Health Connect One
- Mamatoto Village
- Uzazi Village
- Midwives of Color
- The National Alaska Native American Indian Nurses Association
- Native American Nurses Association
- National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color
- Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington
- Oregon Inter-Tribal Breastfeeding Coalition
- Ho-Chunk Nation Breastfeeding Coalition
- Native Breastfeeding Coalition of Wisconsin
- Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council
- Navajo Nation Breastfeeding Coalition
- Native Breastfeeding Council
- National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
- First Nations Health Directors Association
- First Nations Health Authority
- Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
For Women of Color
- The National Association to Advance Black Birth
- Black Women Birthing Justice
- Black 360 Breastfeeding
- Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association
- Black Women’s Health Imperative
About Peggy O’Mara. I am an independent journalist who edits and publishes peggyomara.com. I was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine for over 30 years and founded Mothering.com in 1995. My books include Having a Baby Naturally, Natural Family Living, The Way Back Home and A Quiet Place. I have conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League, and Bioneers. I am the mother of four and grandmother of three. Please check out my email newsletter with free tips on parenting, activism, and healthy living.