Welcome, spring! We are grateful for this new season, and we are pleased to include in this newsletter a little about the delightful kwe (woman), Johna Hupfield, who distributes our moon time bags and period supplies to students attending Parry Sound High School in Ontario, Canada. We are also excited to report that, during the first three months of 2021, we added four more Canadian-based partners, thanks to the work of our newest board member, Winona Elliot: the Georgian Bay Native Women’s Association, the Orillia Native Women’s Association, Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin, and the Department of Child and Family Services of Chimnissing/Beausoleil First Nation. We’ve also added new partners in New Mexico and Arizona, bringing our total partners to 57.
We also share information on the Apache Sun Ceremony — a four-day ceremony that marks the transition of an individual from girlhood to womanhood — and a fun and inspiring video made by a family that regularly sends us period supplies. And we include a link to our new “swag shop.” We’ve put our great logo and brand on a stylish cap and letterman’s jacket, and on a mug, t-shirts, and stickers. We think you’ll love what we offer. All profits fuel our work!
Please don’t forget to send your ideas for future newsletters, including traditional teachings about puberty and periods, to our newsletter editor, Paige Willett.
Chi migwetch (thank you very much) for your interest in and support for our work to end period poverty among Native American students and communities throughout North America.
Eva Marie Carney
Founder & Operator
Apache Sunrise Ceremony
After their first menstruation, Apache girls, with their families’ extensive planning and support, may choose to participate in a traditional and sacred puberty rite ceremony. During that time, girls strengthen their bodies and minds and embrace their role as Apache women.
The Mescalero Apache Tribe describes the Sunrise Ceremony as “a four-day ‘Rite of Passage,’ a ceremony that marks the transition of an individual from one stage of life to another, from girlhood to womanhood. A young girl celebrates her rite of passage with family-prepared feasts, dancing, blessings and rituals established hundreds of years ago. It emphasizes her upbringing which includes learning her tribal language and instilling, from infancy, a sense of discipline and good manners.” Read more here.
Kiana’s Apache Ceremony, a 2020 film that documents a White Mountain Apache ceremony, and the 2017 video, Inside an Apache Rite of Passage into Womanhood (2017), capture the ceremony’s traditions and meaning. Developmental psychologist Carol A. Markstrom offers an in-depth discussion and analysis of the ceremony as practiced by various Apache communities in her book, Empowerment of North American Indian Girls: Ritual Expressions at Puberty (Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2008).
Johna Hupfield, Anishinaabekwe, Waabzhiishii ododem of Wasauksing First Nation, works as an educator at Parry Sound High School in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada. We began partnering with Johna in 2019 to support her students with period supplies.
Johna teaches Anishinaabemowin language and Indigenous studies. Her students are citizens of the five Nations surrounding the school as well as Metis and Inuit youth. Johna believes that The Kwek Society’s work — sharing moon time teachings and offering needed period supplies — makes her students feel more comfortable in their growth and development and eases their paths to adulthood. She also tells us that when her young male students see these ways of kindness extended to their classmates, they exhibit more care and concern as cousins, brothers, uncles, and friends.
The Rosewitzes have made it a family matter to support The Kwek Society. We were excited to receive this video they made to celebrate and inspire others through their ongoing commitment to collect period supplies for us and support our work to end period poverty among Native students and communities.
In the 1970s, organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation as a community of extended families. Warrior Women is the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, an AIM leader and founder of the “We Will Remember” Survival School. The Native alternative to U.S. government-run education shaped a kindred group of activists’ children, including her daughter Marcy. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother-daughter. With Marcy now a mother herself, both women are still at the forefront of Native issues today, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for Indigenous cultural values.
Join us and Kwek Society supporters around the globe for a Warrior Women watch party. We want everyone to have the opportunity to be inspired by this documentary about activist kwe’k (women), available from April 1 to 13. We are sharing this video as our thank you gift to our many partners and supporters.
If you are reading this through April 14th and want to view the documentary, email firstname.lastname@example.org for the link. We cannot share the link here as this is not permitted under our agreement with the documentary’s distributor.
We look forward to your reactions to the film, and future dialogue about the nature of and need for activism! Send us your comments here.
Shop our new online store
We’ve just added an online store with our logo-ed and branded items. Shop here, and then show off your good taste and your commitment to end period poverty – Kwek Society swag also make great gifts! All profits fuel our work!