FNT2T Life Long Learning: “What it Means to be an Indigenous Mother Today” by Andrea Landry

Good Day! We hope that everyone is safe and well. Andrea Landry is a guest writer for FNT2T Life Long Learning. She wrote her first piece titled “Revitalizing Indigenous Kinship Practices” in which she discussed the effects of colonialism on Indigenous kinship and the importance of restoring our ways as Indigenous peoples. Landry is an Indigenous rights defender; she is passionate about restoring and revitalizing Indigenous kinship practices and relearning relationship with the Land. FNT2T Life Long Learning is grateful to Andrea for sharing her knowledge. This is her second piece, “What it Means to be an Indigenous Mother Today”:

Our grandmother’s mothers grew up with support systems fabricated by the Land and a lineage steeped in practices of midwifery, natural law, and our mother-tongues. Young girls who were making the transition point into womanhood were honoured in ceremony. New mothers and their babies were adorned with prayers, gifts, meals, and help so that they were never alone during the most vulnerable times of their lives. Kokums raised and nurtured older grandchildren, preparing them for their natural roles in their villages and communities. And infants were prayerfully tied into their mossbags and cradleboards, observing and watching the ongoings of the camps, so that in turn, they would learn what they were to do as they grew.

The reality is, these practices, teachings, ways of life, and knowledge still exist inherently in our bloodlines, regardless if we are aware of them or not. Colonialism, capitalism, and the commodification of human life, have attempted to heavily disrupt this way of life. Yet, the most powerful part of being an Indigenous person who
identifies as a woman, is this. We are made of the Land.

In saying this, the pillages of our camps by the colonizer, the residential schools, 60’s scoop, the ongoing epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women on our own homelands, the CFS system, and the other systems attempting to commit genocide against our peoples, all stand no chance against who we are and where we come from.

Despite all of this, we still are finding ways to support ourselves in systems fabricated by the Land through practices of midwifery, natural law, and speaking our mother-tongues. We see this emergence of Indigenous women re-learning how to give, and support those giving birth on their homelands, doulas and midwives alike. We see ceremonies taking place for young women who get their moon time. We see moss-bag making workshops, cradleboards being made in band halls and at outdoor camps. We see moccasins and beadwork filling up our social media feeds. We see our people re-learning everything colonialism attempted to take from us, from our kinship systems. And this is what it means to be an Indigenous mother today.

It’s the revitalization and practice of all these things that colonialism could never take from us. Even if it just one word in our mother-tongues, or lacing our babies in prayer in their mossbags, smiling as we remember what our own mothers have told us about these teachings. Because Indigenous motherhood is the ultimate weapon in destroying colonialism.

Miigwetch! Renew and revitalize.