Pokagon women empowered by awareness shawls

Eight citizens and employees gathered this August to work on their domestic violence, breast cancer, and breastfeeding awareness shawls that they’ll dance at the Kee-Boon-Mein-Kaa Pow Wow.

Citizens like Erin Burggraf-Topash, Jude Murray, and Jill Byrket (pictured above) sewed together their purple, red, and yellow shawls. Citizen Bridgette Martin (not pictured) pinned her red and purple cloth together as she shared what her shawl meant to her and her journey.

“I survived domestic violence,” she said. “I am trying to put up a good fight and get it out there that it’s okay to leave.”

Cultural consultant Beth Moody from Inter-Tribal Council led the class with instruction about the meaning of the colors, how to sew, and moss bags and cradle boards. Registered Nurse Ingrid Gschwind spoke about safe sleep for babies, breastfeeding, and the effects of domestic violence and smoking, as well as secondhand smoke for children.