May 25, 2021

Phase 1 Sharing Success of Medicine Wheels!

Build a Board for Friendship House Youth
Build a Board for Friendship House Youth

Greetings Medicine Wheels Team!

Our collective at Seeding Sovereignty sends a heartfilled thank you you for making Phase 1 of our youth program a success for Indigenous youths.

Amidst an ongoing mental health crisis that has been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic, Medicine Wheels was born to empower youth of the global majority to take back some joy, celebrate their culture, reconnect with the land, release pent up energy and break the isolation experienced during COVID-19 quarantining to rebuild community together. 

Our goal was to raise enough funds to get immediate care to young people who face disproportionate incarceration, suicide, and substance abuse rates. To make this happen, we partnered with the American Indian Friendship House whose Youth Program works with young people ages 8-24 to provide services that help prevent addiction before it starts, support mental health, instill cultural pride, and foster resilience in the presence of violence and substance abuse at home.

After approaching the Friendship House Youth Program, we learned that two years prior, there had been a promise of quality skateboards for the youths in the program - and that promise had gone unfulfilled. We weren’t about to disappoint them this time! 

At first 8 young people in the Youth Program responded, then 11, then 18, and finally - on the day of board build, 31 young people showed up! In partnership with Turtle Island Skateboard Project, and with your generous contributions in a few short months through our GlobalGiving Medicine Wheels Campaign, each of the 31 new youth skaters received received parts, tools, and stickers to build and customize their own skateboards!

To our donors of Phase 1 of Medicine Wheels - we thank you!  Our work to benefit the American Indian Friendship House youths in San Francisco was a huge success!

Many communities’ youths have experienced too many challenges during this global pandemic, and we are just getting started to bring Medicine Wheels to more Indigenous youths. In the last two months we have been building relationships with young folks in other cities and are looking ahead to an exciting June launch of Medicine Wheels Rose City (aka Portland)!

Others want to and need to be involved. Seeding Sovereignty’s Medicine Wheels welcomes all wheels! Stay tuned for GlobalGiving updates from Medicine Wheels Rose City - and more!

Mvto/Thank you

Janet and the Seeding Sovereignty Collective

Setting up a new board!
Setting up a new board!
Friendship House Youth Board Build Event!
Friendship House Youth Board Build Event!
Medicine Wheels logo
Medicine Wheels logo
May 21, 2021

ataminaw from the kakichihiwewin project

kakichihiwewin zine cover
kakichihiwewin zine cover

tan'si Friends!

S.A. here from the kakichihiwewin project.

First off, I am incredibly grateful for the ongoing support that has continued to be given to the work we're doing through the project. So much has transpired since the last time I was in touch with a report to you all.

We sucessfully completed the innagural mamawapowuk sessions - which if you may remember is a twelve week (still presently) online healing circle for ten folks who are trying to reconnect and heal after the fallout, and ongoing legacy of forced assimilation in Indigenous communities.

We had an incredible line up of guest speakers for the first series, and as of this report, are three sessions into the next group! The impact of these once a week ninety minute gatherings goes beyond the screen. It's an amazing feeling to hear the impact felt by the attendees.

The reality is that the need for community is so great, but we are so-often unable to access it - especially with the ongoing pandemic - let alone because of colonial structures set in place to divide us.

Each participant has received a curated box of care for the sessions, much like the kits we send out (I'll get to that in a moment). Each participation package contains self care items and tools to be used for not only "success" in the program, but to remind these people that they are creating common experience, and through that the ability to build up as a community and people.

This year we also launched pekiwewin, which ultimately took the place of the info-series we were originally going to offer. This still intimate, once a month culture and community talking circle was created to allow safe space for Indigenous peoples to ask questions and share their experiences without fear of judgement or ridicule. It can be a really hard time navigating the world through the curated lens of social media, so being authentic and true to ourselves is paramount to the healing process. 

This space is limited to 25 attendees to allow them the room to share and learn. In each session of pekiwewin there is a guest facilitator who speaks of their experience and answers questions, and gives support to those on their healing journey.

As I had alluded to above, we are still going strong with the care kits - where folks can request a bundle that is filled with a variety of medicines - meaning tangible items to hold folks who are feeling alone in their grief. These kits make room and again, remind people that they are valid and seen.

In other exciting news: the official release of the kakichihiwewin zine will be going out on the 29th of May! This project has been an absolute labour of love and a channel for healing for both myself and my colleague Kourtney. 

There is a huge significance to the release date as it is my father's birthday, and he, being my closest ancestor, is the reason I continue to do the work I'm doing with kakichihiwewin.

The kakichihiwewin project isn’t a place to learn about your culture, but a place to find community - a community to support you in being the best version of yourself so you can tell your story - and heal through words.

Ataminâw means “thankful / grateful” in my language - and I truly am.

kakichihiwewin social media post
kakichihiwewin social media post

Links:

Apr 2, 2021

April, Come She Will

Dear relatives, 


We have been in gratitude these last few months since speaking to see that many of you have continued committing your support to QTBIPOC storytelling. It is humbling to see your notes, offerings, and acts of financial investments in what is we continue to do daily: share lived experiences as people of the earth. 

As many may be aware, Indigenous nations are leading in national vaccination efforts and as such, we're proud and so thankful to report that nearly our entire collective has been fully vaccinated. We are grateful after surviving one of the deadliest seasons of our lives to know that there is some semblance of peace that can be provided to our people who have lost so much due to this pandemic and wildly inappropriate inaction by federal, state, and local governments.

Yesterday we took time to honor our Trans, nonbinary, Two-Spirit, gender non-conforming, and gender gradient kin as we always do, but with special intention to hear our beautiful land steward Mayam speak on Trans Day of Visibility and their work as a Black Trans farmer. We are currently transitioning our work to be more in person and look forward to the spring as Seeding Sovereignty's work has expanded to include a farm and garden led that may potentially host students seeking to do extracurricular work outside! It's been an honor for us to follow the story of Mayam and other Queer and Trans relations within and beyond Tiwa Territory, this last year and we're excited to begin launching our videos and upcoming work this summer. 

I have also recently transitioned from my role as Seeding Sovereignty's communications and digital director and Save the Stories project director to co-director for our organization. I look forward to continuing to not only making spaces for QTBIPOC kin to share their stories but to also help Seeding Sovereignty tell ours for years to come. Without the continued belief in BIPOC from across Turtle Island, we could not have come this far. 

Dawa'ae, iheedn, and thank you for creating the room for us to invest in folks who deserve to be seen, feel heard, and know that their dreams are being made possible by community. Our liberation is grounded in the knowledge that we carry you all with us across the threshold.

Please continue to take care of yourselves, drink water, and know we're out here ready to come back to a town near you as soon as it's safe again. In gratitude, 

Eryn Wise 

Links:

 
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