Resilience And Reconnection: Our Stories Of Contemporary Indigenous Parenting

Indigenous parents are building the futures of our nations by raising children, passing along our traditions, and resisting colonialism.

Letter From The Editor

How often have you come across a story about Indigenous parenting in the media? It’s a question I asked myself while putting together the stories collected here. While Indigenous people make up around 2% of the American population — and 5% in Canada, where I am from — our voices are still too rarely heard. When Indigenous parents do appear, the stories about us tend to be tragic.

There are reasons for that: Indigenous parents face particular challenges. Our maternal mortality rate is twice as high as that of non-Indigenous parents; our children are far more likely to be taken by the foster care system. Many Indigenous people are survivors of residential schools and Indian boarding schools, and of subsequent initiatives to scoop Indigenous kids from their communities and adopt them out to white families.

It’s important to talk about these injustices. But it’s equally important to talk about Indigenous parenting as a joyful and hopeful practice. There is no more profound act of resistance than nurturing the next generation, and believing that their future can be beautiful. When I held my daughter for the first time, I felt the connection between her body and mine, but also our connection to all the ancestors who had come before us, who had lived and loved and survived so that we could be here together.

— Michelle Cyca, Guest Editor

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Images courtesy of Rebekah Dunlap
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