The Kakichihiwewin Project

by Seeding Sovereignty
The Kakichihiwewin Project
Mamawapowuk Session Five Boxes!
Mamawapowuk Session Five Boxes!

Tanisi Friends!

Wow! Time flies when you’re doing your heart work!

As always, I’ll start off with what we are currently working on and then go backwards to cover everything the project has been doing! So, here we go!

We just started the fifth, that’s right the FIFTH Mamawapowuk! I’m so excited to get to know this new group over the next eleven weeks (since we just had week one!), there’s so much that we can learn from one another as we learn that we are not alone on our healing journeys. These gatherings provide the space to exist, without sharing the experience, but rather the lesson. The guest speakers are always a hit too, sharing their words and time with the attendees.

I mentioned in the last update that Mamawapowuk is a 12 week online healing circle where 10 people are brought together to create a positive common experience outside of the trauma we face every day as Indigenous people. This continues to be our most successful program, and there are so many components to it - but the outcome makes it all worth while!

What else? There have been some ups and downs with both Pekiwewin and our Storytelling series, which is understandable, many folks are feeling that screen burnout after two and a half years of the pandemic. I’m really hoping that we are able to make more time together, and while giving some space for folks is crucial, we also need space together. 

As I mentioned we started the fifth Mamawapowuk, meaning that the fourth ended recently. It was such a beautiful series, and such incredible attendees. I know that some great bonds were made, and I hope they continue being in touch with each other!

Kakichihiwewin has also partnered with a few youth based programs in Canada to send out 75 carefully tailored care kits to youth and youth leaders who are children and grandchildren of residential school survivors. These tangible bits of hope often mean more than words can express, especially when those receiving them have had little to no support due to systemic issues in their own communities and beyond.

Oh my gosh! This is exciting, I am also already planning for Orange Shirt Day 2022! It will be a day of activities that will be Native led and centred. We will be doing another banner drop and creating an agenda where all will be welcome to come support, learn, and heal. We are also going to release our very first Orange Shirt Day design which will be featured in our soon to launch Bonfire shop!

The regular care kits are still going out monthly, and honestly, it’s such a fulfilling component to this work. The response is always so beautiful. Being seen and validated is so important for the healing process, and I’m so glad Kakichihiwewin can provide some of that! 

Kakichihiwewin also recently did a collaboration effort with Seeding Sovereignty’s Ancestral Acres Farm & Garden Program where we sent out packs to show that although it doesn’t feel like it, healing has tangible growth, much like a sunflower - you can look out your window one day and nothing is there, and then one day, POOF! You have this beautiful thing. The kits included mammoth sunflower seeds from Ancestral Acres, hand lotion from lush, PPE and some cute swag. It’s been great seeing some of the photos and videos online!

I am working on our third zine as well! There will be elements of storytelling, images and statistics that highlight the trauma inflicted and rippled after the forced assimilation efforts from the church and state. This is a crucial effort as many Native folks feel like they are alone in their experiences - this shows them that they are not.

This summer the project is also getting ready to launch the Stepping Stone Healing Fund. This effort offers small bursaries that assist people in cultivating the knowledge that was stolen from them through language classes, travel to homelands, access to records, etc.

Since I mentioned the collaboration with Ancestral Acres, I’ll also note that we are working on more collaborations! We’ve partnered with The Chapter House in Los Angeles for community art nights, and are looking forward to doing more. We will also be working with some TBA groups on talking circles and special presentations.

I’ll also throw in some notes about The Lester Howse Fund, which is now The Lester Howse Story! Last fall we filmed a six part series with Cree elder, Lester Howse which is being release over a six week period. You can check those episodes out that chronicle his experiences on the Kakichihiwewin page on our website!

This project has been the most fulfilling thing I have ever done, I am so grateful for the ongoing support, and as this effort is still at this moment a 100% community funded endeavour, none of this would be possible without all of you donating. This is because you care - and that is amazing and humbling.

I hope that all these updates reach you well, and always know my virtual door is open to any questions about the programming, or the effort being made.

I look forward to working with you all through the next few months until the next update!

Hay Hay!
S.A.

Care Kit Contents!
Care Kit Contents!
Shipping Mamawapowuk Kits!
Shipping Mamawapowuk Kits!
Collab Seed Kit Boxes!
Collab Seed Kit Boxes!
Seed Collab Boxes!
Seed Collab Boxes!
The Chapter House x Kakichihiwewin Art Night!
The Chapter House x Kakichihiwewin Art Night!

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A community member letter for a care kit.
A community member letter for a care kit.

Tan’si Friends!

I have so much I’m excited to share with you regarding what Kakichihiwewin has been up to!

Since the last report we have been incredibly busy! Let’s start with our most recent news and work our way backwards! Or at least attempt to!

First off, we will be beginning new Pekiwewin sessions every month starting at the end of January! These talking circles are so incredibly important as we discuss the concept of identity and what that means to the individual as well as the community. They are safe, intimate spaces that aren’t found through regular social media interactions.

Our storytelling series is also coming back from a brief hiatus. This is where we host a guest speaker where they share their experiences and hopefully offer solace to viewers who have or are experiencing the same things from assimilation efforts both historically and presently. 

Something I’m really excited about: We started the fourth Mamawapowuk group last week on January 6th. 

As some of you may know, this is a 12 week online healing circle where 10 people are brought together to create a positive common experience outside of the trauma we face every day as Indigenous people. This has been our most successful program, and a lot of labour goes into making it happen - but it’s beyond worth it. 

Back in fall we also partnered with the Museum of Kamloops, a city which came to international attention on May 27th of last year with the announcement that 215 bodies of children were found at the location of their residential school. 

In partnering with the Kamloops Museum we were able to put together 25 healing kits for elders within the community, much like our community care kits, they remind people how beautiful and valued they are.

Additionally just two short weeks after the last report from Kakichihiwewin, we held an Orange Shirt Day community banner paint and drop in Portland, Oregon. The community came together to honour the children stolen and remind non-Natives that they still benefit from the genocide of children.

Along with the banner drop, we also created literature on Chemawa to hand out, which is the boarding school 40 miles outside of Portland, Oregon.

We are still sending out care kits monthly to community members seeking solace and connection, especially during this ongoing pandemic which has an allowed for gathering the way we wish we could.

The second zine from Kakichihiwewin was released in November! This issue shows glimpses into stories of survivors and their kin after the outcome of residential and boarding schools. It was not an easy zine to make nor is it an easy read - but it is absolutely necessary.

We will also be pursuing another “Healing the Needs of Now” session within a month or so.

This new year we will be officially launching our Stepping Stone Healing Fund which are small bursaries that help people cultivate the knowledge that was stolen from them through language classes, travel to homelands, etc.

We’re also planning on some collaborative art projects with The Chapter House Los Angeles this year!

Honestly friends, there’s so much that I’m trying to accomplish within Kakichihiwewin, but it really doesn’t feel like work at all because I’m doing what I love thanks to your support.

I hope you enjoyed reading about what’s been done, and are hopeful about what is coming!

If you have any questions about programming please reach out to me at any point, the more we know the more we learn the more we can accomplish together.

 

Hiy Hiy,

S.A.

Jaylnne & Amber painting the banner.
Jaylnne & Amber painting the banner.
Kai & Zooey painting.
Kai & Zooey painting.
Community members painting the banner.
Community members painting the banner.
Zooey waiting for the banner to dry.
Zooey waiting for the banner to dry.
Projection #1 from the banner drop.
Projection #1 from the banner drop.
Projection #2 from the banner drop.
Projection #2 from the banner drop.
Projection #3 from the banner drop.
Projection #3 from the banner drop.
The banner drop for Orange Shirt Day.
The banner drop for Orange Shirt Day.
Contents of the Mamawapowuk kits.
Contents of the Mamawapowuk kits.
Mamawapowuk kits ready to go out!
Mamawapowuk kits ready to go out!
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TKP Zine Cover
TKP Zine Cover

Tan'si Friends!

S.A. here, Kakichihiwewin Project director.

I can't believe that we've been working together on Kakichihiwewin for almost a year!

This project launched on September 30th, 2020 amidst a pandemic and a great need for community and healing. As of right now our project is thriving, and we're looking to bring many more programs to continue to benefit Native peoples.

We just started our third Mamawapowuk healing group - which you may recall is the 12 week program aimed at creating common bonds and sharing experiences that will help bring solace and comfort to those who have suffered the repercussions of forced assimilations directly and intergenerationally. We host 10 guest speakers who share their stories and lead us in painting, beading or writing sessions - tools that can be used to express feeling or be used as reprieve from trauma.

Numerous care kits have gone out over the summer from Northern Quebec to Southern California! We've been so fortunate to recieve so much generosity from Indigneous companies and folks to share items that feel like a hug, and help subside the feeling of lonliness. I hand-make each kit and the wool bag they come in. It truly is a labor of love.

We’ve also had incredible guests for our Pekiwewin (coming home) sessions including Corrine Rice-Grey Cloud, Dr. Tomasina Chupco as well as Leah and Olivia Horzempa. Over the next couple of months we’ll be branching out this program on identity to include non-Native, non-white speakers to share their experiences of colonization and forced assimilation where we can learn from one another how to interact with a system set up to dismantle us.

Storytelling will also be taking a different turn in the coming months with a special 6 part series featuring an elder from so-called Canada discussing their experiences in the residential school system.

We are also starting a Stepping Stone Healing Fund that will give bursaries of $250 twice a month to people with financial restrictions to allow them access to records, language and travel so they can continue their reclamation and healing journey.

Oh! Exciting news! We released our first zine in May and will be working with the Museum of Kamloops for its distribution while providing care to to the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc nation through our care kits. The second zine is currently underway, and will be released this winter.

This summer we also had a live special addressing assimilation and erasure with some very special guests - which we’re hoping to host more of in the coming months.

So I ask, as the 30th approaches and we prepare for Orange Shirt Day, please consider uplifting our program to ensure that we can continue to provide access to safe and accessible spaces for those needing it.

I’m forever grateful to those who have contributed time and money to this project.
There are no words for my gratitude.

 

Be well relatives,

Hiy Hiy,

S.A.

Director S.A. mailing Mamawapowuk packs.
Director S.A. mailing Mamawapowuk packs.

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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

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One of the Legacy Care Kit mailing days!
One of the Legacy Care Kit mailing days!

Tan'si / Hello Friends!

S.A. here, kakichihiwewin project director, I want to start off by honouring and thanking every single person who donated over the last four and a half months to the kakichihiwewin project. With the support you have given, our community healing efforts have made some pretty lasting impressions on those who have been on the recieving end of your generosity. This is a 99% community funded efffort, none of this could have been done without your support! 

the kakichihiwewin project offers info sessions like "Storytelling" where we give space to those who are working towards generational healing. These stories are shared through our platform to inspire and push forward others to see that one person can make a difference in the legacy of healing assimilation efforts. We've had some really wonderful guests and look forward to hosting more in 2021.

We will also begin a panel info-series in February as a way to educate non-Natives as to the history of assimiliation efforts - and what they can do to support or act on in solidarity and kinship with Native peoples.

kakichihiwewin has sent and given out dozens of Legacy Care Kits as a way of culture sharing and gifting to remind community members that they are needed, seen, loved and above all else - valid. Each kit contains traditional medicines, teas, snacks that have all had personal meaning to me throughout my life - as well as a note handwritten by another community member - making each kit one of a kind.

The project is also working with Seeding Sovereignty's Communications Assistant, Kourtney Rakell (they / them) on creating a zine where information, stories and movements can be shared both digitally and through limited pressing. Sometimes tangible, visual things are the greatest catalyst for change.

In January kakichihiwewin launched "mamawapowuk" which means "gathering" in michif. This is a twelve week program where ten participants meet up through an online platform to create strong bonds and understand that they are not alone in their journey to healing. For ten out of the twelve weeks the group hears from a guest speaker who shares stories of culture and their experience in healing trauma and participats in an activity - ie: painting, beading, etc. This program will be offered three times a year!

kakichihiwewin is also presently working on creating once a month meet-up groups for people to have space together onilne while it is still unsafe to do so in person. We will be sending out care packages to participants and inviting guests help lead with dialogue and activities.

This project will always be about healing. Especially the wounds from battles we did not consent to - or had to fight for survival.

Everyone has a story, and the kakichihiwewin project will be there to help heal through words.

We may not be able to see healing, because it isn't linear - but we can feel it.

mamawapowuk participant packages!
mamawapowuk participant packages!
Assembling kits.
Assembling kits.
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Organization Information

Seeding Sovereignty

Location: Brooklyn, NY - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @seedsovereignty
Project Leader:
S.A. Lawrence-Welch
Portland, Oregon United States
$22,664 raised of $55,000 goal
 
535 donations
$32,336 to go
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