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Hummingbird

The Nest

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Programs

What is The Nest?

In building our Nest, we asked, “How can we create a space where Indigenous mamas know that they are enough?” Just by your very existence, you are enough.

With this program we are piloting the first guaranteed income program to exclusively serve Indigenous communities in the United States. Over the next six years we will give up to 150 families $1250 no-strings-attached monthly payments to Indigenous pregnant people until their child’s third birthday.

This equates to up to $45,000 for a family participating from the birth of their child until they turn three.

Eligibility

12 weeks pregnant to 6 weeks postpartum and planning to parent
Indigenous to North America or Pacific Islander
Living in: King County, Tulalip Reservation, or Puyallup Reservation
Income under:
  • $70k for a 2 person household*
  • $85k for a 3 person household*
  • $100k for a 4+ person household*
*include the pregnancy as part of the household size (e.g. a single pregnant person counts as a household of 2)
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Interested in Joining the Nest?

We are currently accepting referrals from: The Pacific Islander Health Board, Seattle Indian Health Board, Hummingbird BirthKeepers, Quilted Health, and Family Ways. To participate, you must meet all of the eligibility requirements. Referrals are opening in March 2023.

If interested, please contact us for more information.
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Indigenous Wealth

Why The Nest?

We believe that Indigenous mamas are enough and they deserve to honor their reproductive destinies, support their community, and raise their children in healthy and thriving environments. Through the Hummingbird Nest, we believe we can support our families in achieving this vision. Every person deserves to live with dignity and have their basic needs met.

What does it look like to build Indigenous wealth?
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  • Indigenous wealth is about decolonizing and revitalizing what it means to be healthy and live in abundance. 
  • Most Indigenous languages do not have a word for "wealth." Instead, they have words that convey living reciprocally, focusing on health, and being a good relative.
  • Indigenous wealth is shared: when we have access to shared wealth, we can restore the health of our communities and nations.
  • Indigenous wealth building creates spaces where Indigenous people have access to their language, lifeways, spirituality, and ceremonies.
  • These spaces help community members thrive and truly feel like themselves. Colonization has created unhealthy patterns and separated many Indigenous people from their teachings. Building Indigenous wealth is a form of community care that helps us reconnect and heal. (source)

“I feel like when we look back, we're rooted in connection. We have our village. And I think that's something that if we build on that, bringing that back like actually having a village because I feel like a lot of people are like, oh, I need to be able to do this on my own.”

Community Member & Mama

We envision building wealth as a process, as a narrative, as connectedness, and as family well-being.

What is Guaranteed Income?
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Guaranteed income (GI) is a type of cash transfer program that provides regular, unconditional, and unrestricted cash transfers to individuals or households. This differs from typical social safety net policies by providing a steady, predictable stream of cash to recipients to spend however they see fit without requiring that they perform specific activities—like working, going to school, or seeking employment—to remain eligible. While guaranteed income is always unconditional, it may be targeted toward people below a certain income threshold. GI Pilots provide cash transfers to a limited group of participants for a specific period of time to collect data that can inform policymakers and researchers as well as contribute to ongoing public discourse around guaranteed income policy. (source: Jain Family Institute)

Why Guaranteed Income?
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Income has the potential to significantly change life course events when provided during pregnancy and early childhood. Think healthier pregnancies, better birth and postpartum experience, better parent child bonding, more time for healing and recovery. The impacts go beyond the time after birth into early childhood - including reaching milestones, and better school performance. Some studies have even found improved emotional and family health during teenage years in families that had unconditional cash income.

Guaranteed Income is a powerful health intervention that can support healing, and we believe can work to heal historical trauma, especially when offered at an important time in a family’s life. The legacies of colonization, genocide, forced relocations, boarding schools, loss of traditional cultural practices and food systems still have incredible health and societal impacts that lead to economic and health disparities for Indigenous communities. The collection of symptoms due to these experiences is known as Historical Trauma (HT). 

In King County alone: 

  • Indigenous are disproportionately living in extreme poverty. We make up less than 2% of the overall population in King County, and yet represent over half of people living at 200% below the poverty line (Source: King County Public Health)
  • We experience very high rates of housing insecurity. 6% of King County's AIAN population is homeless, which represents the largest group after the Black community. (Source: Seattle Times)
  • Our babies die at the highest rates of any community. This is often hidden because of the way racial data is collected. King County overall infant mortality rate is 3.9 per 100,000 live births. The AIAN rate is more than 3 times the average with over 12.2 per 100,000 births. (Source: King County Public Health)
  • We have our babies younger and have less access to prenatal care. Native women are 9x more likely and Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian women are 6.5x more likely than white women to be teen parents. They are also 4-5x less likely to receive adequate or any prenatal care. Maternal age and prenatal care are associated with infant mortality. (Source: King County Public Health)
  • Indigenous womxn experience disproportionate rates of sexual and intimate partner violence. Nearly every Native American woman in Seattle surveyed by UIHI said she was raped or coerced into sex. Of the 148 Native American and Alaska Native women, more than half the women — 53 percent — were homeless at the time they answered the questions. (Source: The Urban Indian Health Institute)

These statistics reflect the legacies of inequity and oppression that have been ongoing since first contact.

Why Indigenous pregnant people?
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Poverty is not a reflection of moral value; it is a policy choice. Indigenous communities and Indigenous pregnant people are some of those most impacted by structural oppression. The impact of poverty during pregnancy and in early childhood are multiple. Compared to beneficiaries of structural racism, urban AI/AN infants have significantly higher mortality rates, increased poor health outcomes in early childhood (such as diabetes and obesity), and decreased access to adequate health care and nutrition. Having access to money and resources is so critical for food, housing, and health care. Guaranteed income during pregnancy and the first 1000 days increases pathways toward liberation for Indigenous families to improve health across a reproductive life span. 

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Arenas of Indigenous Wealth Creation

Developed by the Urban Indian Health Institute
Process
Cultivate a culture of abundance
  • Social mobility
  • Respect
  • Quality services
  • Outreach
Narrative
Impact on current narrative
  • Media spread
  • Partnerships
  • Political support
  • Funding
Relational
Impact on connectedness
  • Infant bonding
  • Family relations
  • Community relations
  • Cultural connection
Family
Impact on well-being of entire family
  • Whole family health
  • Parenting
  • Economic status
  • Pregnancy & birth
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Indigenous Wealth

Guaranteed income is a national movement that is rooted in equity, reclaiming sovereignty, and changing narratives for policy change

To learn more about Guaranteed Income work nationally, check out the Guaranteed Income Community of Practice.
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“Pregnancy is the most sacred time, but it's almost the most invasive time. When you're pregnant, people feel comfortable questioning you about it, strangers in public. Afterward, everybody has an opinion... [A guaranteed income support] just being able to unapologetically parent, to be understood, and to be recognized as somebody who's multifaceted.”
Community Member & Mama
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Meet our Elder Council and Clan of Matriarchs

We convened our council of elders and matriarchs, and connected with Indigenous mamas who were pregnant or who had given birth in the past three years to create a program rooted in community values, traditions, and decolonized practices to support our families in building Indigenous wealth.

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