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A Journey To What Matters: Prenatal Beaded Earring Workshop 

Grantee: Alaska Native Birthworkers Community, Story by Helena Jacobs

The CIRI Foundation, through its A Journey to What Matters: Increased Alaska Native Art & Culture grant program, partnered with the Alaska Native Birthworkers Community to offer a prenatal beaded earring workshop for Native birthing families. We procured, assembled and distributed 30 complete kits with all the supplies needed to make two pairs of beaded earrings, and hired Gwich’in artist Rochelle Adams to prepare the supply list, instruction sheet, and teach a live workshop on November 14, 2020.

We recorded the workshop and distributed it afterward to everyone who registered so folks who were not able to make this date could watch the step-by-step instructional recording and make earrings on their own. Our goal was to provide Alaska Native families with a culturally enriching opportunity while awaiting their new baby, to build community, and to celebrate our arts and cultures as Indigenous peoples. Quotes from participants on the impact of this workshop include:

  • “It started my beading journey which I am very grateful for and helped connect me to other indigenous women which is really comforting especially in this time of social distancing. “
  • “This gave me something new and fun to look forward to during my pregnancy and during the pandemic, while safely being at home and keeping myself busy.”
  • “I loved learning a new skill and knowing that I can one day teach my own children.”

We are now using this model to plan other similar teaching and community building virtual workshops. 

Learn more about our work at www.nativebirthworkers.org.

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