Fertility in Our Communities
As a population that has endured hundreds of years of genocide, in its many forms, it’s understandable we are naturally drawn to the question of how we can continue to not only survive, but thrive. There are so many incredible people doing incredible work on culture/language preservation and revitalization, food sovereignty and nutrition, traditional health practices, eradication of mascotry and offensive imagery and proper representation, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol addiction prevention and healing, the list goes on and on and on, and it would be impossible to name each and every person, project or initiative. And, of course, a huge part of all of this is ensuring that women and children have proper protection, care and the resources to ensure they have as strong a beginning as possible.
But fertility for Indigenous women is a tricky subject with a massive wealth of historical context. We naturally celebrate pregnancies and births, as of course we should. This is the continuance of our culture, literal survivors of genocide flipping the finger to the many powers-that-be who wished us erased from the face of the Earth. The topic of endurance encompasses so much: again, proper and traditional care and support for pregnant women and their newborns, continued culture/language education to rebuild our traditional lifestyles, adoption politics, health care, etc. You know the drill.
So what of infertility? What of adoptions outside of the tribe, of forced sterilization, of so many varied ways of abusing our bodies, both forced and self-inflicted, both historically and present, that we may not be able to conceive? What of blood quantum politics, of marrying outside the tribe, or marrying a non-Native? What of marriage itself? What of raising culturally aware children as-traditionally-as-I-can-manage when you are completely removed from your home community?
Everything, of course, goes back to cultural genocide and colonialism. In this next series, I plan on exploring as many of these topics as possible, in as much detail as possible. The first topic will be infertility in our communities – what we can do about, what we should know and how our behaviors and attitudes may be doing more harm than good. As always, I appreciate any engagement from readers – please send me your questions, concerns, ideas for topics, anything! I am looking forward to diving into these topics with a critical lens, and seeing if we can’t find some solutions together.