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Native American Heritage Month

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Native American Heritage Month recognizes the histories and continuing invaluable contributions of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian people in the United States. This month honors the rich diversity of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian cultures, traditions, and languages, and it focuses on how heritage intersects with health. By working together to raise awareness of health disparities and providing a platform for national American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian health organizations to discuss challenges and opportunities, we can all help move communities toward health equity.

Tribal Coalitions Listed in USBC's Coalition Directory:

Any tribal breastfeeding coalition (or any breastfeeding organization) can request a group profile in the USBC's website.

Organizations, Resources, Tools, and Materials

USBC Resources

NBCC Highlights 

2019 Conference Presentations 

  • Cultural Communities Supporting Breastfeeding in KansasStephanne Rupnicki, AA, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation
    • The Kansas Breastfeeding Coalition, Inc. (KBC) created the "Communities Supporting Breastfeeding" (CSB) designation to recognize communities in Kansas who have a multi-faceted community approach to breastfeeding support. The CSB designation criteria include local breastfeeding leadership, peer support, maternity care practices, support in public spaces, worksite support, and childcare provider support. "Community" can be defined by geography or culture. This presentation examined how the CSB criteria were adapted to a Native American reservation and African-American neighborhoods in Kansas City to build a landscape of breastfeeding support in these marginalized and underserved populations.

2018 Conference Presentations

  • The Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor: Decolonizing Breastfeeding Education- Camie Goldhammer, Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices

    • This presentation looked at the background of breastfeeding education. Historically all breastfeeding certifications and most breastfeeding education has been taught by and centers on white women and their families. Because of this, many lactation supporters are ill-equipped to serve communities of color. The Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor certification is taught by two Native IBCLCs and all participants in the training self identify as Native. This creates an environment that is culturally conducive to Indigenous ways of learning
  • Designing for Equity: Lessons Learned from the "Make the Breast Pump Not Suck" Hackathon - Jennifer Roberts, Catherine D'Ignazio, and Rachael Lorenzo, Make the Breast Pump Not Suck
    • This presentation featured a look at the teams that modified Native clothing to make it more nursing-friendly, made lactation planning tools for African American women, created a kit for supporting lactation in crisis situations, and more. The “Make the Breast Pump Not Suck” Hackathon convened at the MIT Media Lab in April 2018. This second iteration of the hackathon stressed taking a systems-based lens for change, e.g. hacking technology but also hacking narratives, policies and other systemic barriers to breastfeeding.

2019 Tribal Trailblazer Awardees 

The Tribal Trailblazer awards honor individuals of American Indian/Native American and Alaska Native heritage who are actively promoting maternal and child health and breastfeeding support in their Tribes. The dedication and commitment of these outstanding community leaders are helping improve the lives of Indigenous women and their families in communities across the nation. This year's awardees are listed below.

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  • Alicia Gourd, Spirit Lake Nation, Apache, North Dakota
  • Courtney Schwefel, Bear Clan, Mohican Tribe, Wisconsin
  • Cyndee McLead, Turtle Mountain Chippewa Tribe, North Dakota
  • Danielyn Hardy, Pueblo of Zia, New Mexico
  • Natalie Nicholson, Three Affiliated Tribes, Minnesota
  • Stephanne Rupnicki, Kickapoo Tribe, Kansas
  • Tracey Printup, Tonawanda Seneca, Turtle Clan of the Haudenosaunee/Iroquois Confederacy, New York