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August 8-14, 2022: Indigenous Milk Medicine Week

WHEREAS, Michigan honors the 12 federally recognized Tribes, and many more tribally recognized Tribes, native to this land and acknowledges the people, land, traditions, and customs stolen by colonial systems through government practices of forced separation and forced assimilation; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan acknowledges the grief of Indigenous peoples and joins in mourning the loss of the Indigenous children whose remains were and are being discovered on stolen land and denied their birthright of the perfect first food; and,

WHEREAS, Indigenous breastfeeding is a sovereign right for Indigenous peoples no matter where they reside; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan celebrates doodooshaaboo (milk) and breastfeeding with Indigenous peoples as a gift from the Creator directly given to women so they may nourish the next seven generations; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan acknowledges that doodooshaaboo (milk) and breastfeeding is also considered a medicine, and is acknowledged by Indigenous peoples as the first medicine children receive to live healthy and strong lives; and,

WHEREAS, during this week we are dedicated to broadening public understanding of the critical impact breastfeeding has on improving the health of infants and mothers within the Indigenous community;

WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to reducing infant mortality and increasing the health outcomes of mothers and babies during National Breastfeeding Month - and Indigenous maternal mortality is 2 to 3 times the rate of white maternal mortality and Indigenous infant mortality is 3 times greater than white infant mortality with a 73% increased mortality risk if the baby is not breastfed; and,

WHEREAS, it is vital to improve health outcomes by providing equitable and culturally appropriate and respectable care for Indigenous families in the prenatal period through postpartum, as well as in lactation support, as Indigenous birthing persons are 2 1⁄2 times less likely to receive prenatal care with 50% receiving zero before birth; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to creating a safe environment for indigenous mothers and babies in clinical practices due to Indigenous mothers coerced into sterilization and/or contraception immediately after birth which can be detrimental to breastfeeding; and,

WHEREAS, Indigenous breastfeeding is vital to counter the inequity and injustice experienced by Indigenous families and their ability to practice their traditions in accordance with their ancestral and Tribal communities; and,

WHEREAS, Michigan celebrates the diversity and encourages visibility of Indigenous Breastfeeding experiences; and,

WHEREAS, inherited trauma has had a significant effect on bonding and traditional parenting in Indigenous households; and,

WHEREAS, breastfeeding promotes bonding between infant and mother, and an Indigenous baby who is not breastfed is held 50% less in their lifetime that those breastfed; and,

WHEREAS, Indigenous birth workers and breastfeeding supporters provide families with support and education to reclaim their right to breastfeed their children freely for however long they desire; and,

WHEREAS, decolonizing parenting and feeding traditions promotes food sovereignty, body sovereignty, and healing of generations; and,

WHEREAS, diabetes is the 4th leading cause of death amongst Indigenous people with 1⁄3 of the population being affected by diabetes in their lifetime and breastfeeding is a prevention against diabetes; and,

WHEREAS, Indigenous Breastfeeding is an act of defiance, resistance, and beauty we should support and protect at every level of society; and,

WHEREAS, reactivating Indigenous birthrights will undoubtedly build a strong foundation for Michigan and Tribal Nations to build healthier communities for the next seven generations;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, join with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Sacred Bundle Birthworker Collective, Postpartum Healing Lodge, Nourishing Nations, Sage and Rebozos, Nizhóní Sol Birthwork, Indigenous Medicinal Birth Lodge and Michigan Breastfeeding Network, to hereby proclaim August 8-14, 2022 as Indigenous Milk Medicine Week in Michigan.