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HomeNewsMotherhood Within Indigenous Communities Celebrated at Open House in Williams Lake

Motherhood Within Indigenous Communities Celebrated at Open House in Williams Lake

Mothers, fathers, and soon-to-be parents took part in an open house in Williams Lake to honor motherhood within Indigenous communities.

The open house coinciding with this week’s World Breastfeeding week took place Tuesday at Cariboo Community Church and was put together by the Tsilhqhot’in National Government, Pregnancy Outreach, and the Cariboo Friendship Society.

Organizer Michelle Myers says their experiences as mothers and as birthing people, and going through pregnancies after the impacts of colonization and western worldviews has affected their connections, traditional viewpoints, and practices with bringing children into the world.

“It’s really exciting to be able to have this opportunity here in Williams Lake for people to gather and talk about some of these effects on our cultures and traditions in a place that they feel safe and ways that this can be reclaimed or questions that they have about the cultural and traditional aspects of pregnancies, birth, and parenting as well,” Myers said.

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As for the turnout, Myers says she was pleased by it despite the road conditions.

“I’m excited to see so many here who were eager to learn especially by younger people who are now raising babies, raising families, and now becoming mothers. It’s a lot different from my experience being pregnant eight years ago and it’exciting to offer that for the people who are pregnant and bringing our next generation into the world today,” she said.

“I think that this kind of event has sparked an interest in people to do stuff like this; to offer that space for motherhood discussions to happen and for pregnancy, labor, and birth discussions to happen within their community so that it’s not behind closed doors or those aren’t things you talk about in an open space, but it’s more celebrated within our communities and our families.”

” I think moving forward, it would be really cool to see more events like this happening within our Tsilhqot’in communities and having these events happening within our community so that more people can access them.”

Myers who recently graduated with her bachelor of arts in native studies and completed the indigenous full-spectrum doula training in Edmonton is currently leading a project on traditional labor, birth, and parenting in the communities of Xeni Gwet’in and Yunesit’in.

“I registered and they had about 16 people they allowed into the program and they had over 60 people sign up, ” she says of the doula training.

“I took it and it was just life-changing, and it opened up so many different perspectives for me and that’s what kind sparked my interest in this type of work and really realize the importance of supporting the birthing peoples within our community for our next generations.”

Myers says it was after discussions with her community, that she was offered to take on the research project.

“That’s what led me here,” she said.

“I’ve just been doing individual research interviews with elders so far and I hope to continue to share the knowledge that I’ve gained so far and the knowledge that I do continue to gather as the project goes forward.”

Myers says she hopes to have the 6-8 month project wrapped up in January with booklet style material on culturally relevant information being distributed throughout Tsilhqot’in communities.

“It’s also going to have some workshops so something similar that I did today only within the communities.”

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