Indigenous peoples and communities have long used stories to understand the world and our place in it. Seedcast is a story-centered podcast by Nia Tero and a special monthly column produced in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald about nurturing and rooting stories of the Indigenous experience.
(In Ichishskíin) Ínknash waníkxa̱ Mariana Harvey. Washnash Yakama kníck.
I’m Mariana Harvey. I’m an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. My bands are Klickitat and Sk’in-pah. I am also Táytnapam, Spokane, Choctaw, Swedish, and Black. Culturally, I was raised Yakama in the City of Seattle. Being Yakama and an Urban Native is how I orient myself in the world.
I am the wild foods and medicines program coordinator for Garden Raised Bounty, or GRuB, in Olympia, Washington. I’m an íła (mother), and I have a beautiful 2-year-old son named Áyut as well as a loving partner named Itsa. We all live together in the lands of the Squaxin Island, Nisqually, and Chehalis peoples, currently known as Olympia, Washington. I am honored to share a little bit about our journey re-Indigenizing our lives through parenthood.
The revolution, as they say, starts at home. When I was pregnant, I started to ask more questions about my grandmothers. What were their lives like? What was motherhood like for them? I’d grown up knowing that my paternal grandmother went to boarding school and that Ichishskíin was her first language. Due to the violence, trauma, and assimilation of boarding school, she did not pass on her first language in our family. It wasn’t until I was on my own motherhood journey that I really sat with these stories, sat with and appreciated the strength of my grandmother for all she went through raising seven children after what she had been through as a child herself. I had a moment where I realized, “These are the traumas we [today’s Indigenous families] are trying to heal from today.”
There she goes again a part of her unfulfilled drowning in pain and sorrow frantically searching the places she walked with her boys beautiful dark long curly hair swaying behind her as the sun hits her gorgeous tan face.
The one she had after me in 1977 almost her spitting image. The youngest a mix of all the ancestors before him. She searches for them through the years finds them and sees only emptiness in their eyes from all the lies they have been spoon-fed. Their stares like daggers stabbing a hole in her bosom leaving behind a gaping hole in her heart.
A new parent in poverty has more health protection in Washington because of a bill signed on April 16 by Gov. Jay Inslee. Senate Bill 5068 extends coverage to new mothers for an entire year after their child’s birth if they are covered by the state’s Medicaid program, known as Apple Health.
The bill covers a gap in Medicaid coverage that will impact about 10,000 people in Washington state who lose coverage 60–90 days postpartum. People who were on Medicaid prior to being pregnant, and who qualify for Medicaid based on an income level about 300% of the federal poverty line are not affected and will continue to be covered. Those in the range of between 193% and 300% of the federal poverty level will now receive postpartum coverage thanks to the bill.
At least one physician, Lillian Wu, M.D., told the Emerald in an email that her patient’s face lit up with relief when she heard about the bill’s passage. The patient has a condition, which will now be covered for longer. Wu is the president of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians and practices in Renton.
My stethoscope lingered on the back of my patient. I realized I was steadying my breath more than listening to hers. The fabric she wore to cover her hair had the same feel as the fabric my mother wore during my childhood. It’s not a Walmart cotton. It’s a cotton you can only buy back home: soft and cozy, typically worn by soft and cozy aunties, carrying a scent of food freshly cooked by the wearer.