In the Winter of 2020, Camie Goldhammer and Wakeah Jhane partnered to create a set of Birth Affirmation posters. The birth affirmation posters were a small answer to the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Indigenous birthing people. At the beginning of the pandemic health care facilities were understaffed and completely overloaded caring for community members sick with COVID. It was a time of uncertainty and fear throughout the world’s hospital systems (and beyond). Hospitals were restricting the number of people coming in and out to prevent the spread of COVID. Unfortunately, this included the partners, family and doulas providing support to birthing people. For months, thousands our relatives were forced to birth alone.
While we tried our best to provide support via FaceTime, there was something missing. It was the words and energy that an Indigenous doula brings to a birth space. We wanted to create something that would fill the void.
Camie reached out to Wakeah, the talented ledger artist about a collabortation. Wahkeah did not hesitate. Together, they created 7 beautiful, custom birth affirmation cards to be hung in any birth space setting. These posters are a gift to the community and cannot be sold or altered for any reason. Feel free to print as many as you would like and share them with community.
Wakeah Jhane is a self taught ledger artist from the Penatʉka & Yaparʉhka bands of Nʉmʉnʉʉ (Comanche) as well as Gaúigú (Kiowa). The late Wakeah Hoaway (1914-2010) of her maternal family gifted and passed down her own name to Wakeah prior to birth in the traditional Nʉmʉ way. Her name means “finds lost things” or “searching on horseback.”
Wakeah Jhane was born and raised in the Native Art world. Growing up she was always fascinated with many art forms, two of the strongest being Cradleboards and Ledger art. As she attended many art shows she would go booth to booth visiting with different artists admiring the uniqueness of their work. As Wakeah grew older, her passion for ledger art only grew stronger as well as her friendships with the artists. Soon the ledger artists she visited with became her strongest mentors and great friends who motivationally encouraged her to try the style of artwork herself. The late George Flett (Spokane) was among those artists who encouraged her and said:
“If your heart is in this work then maybe you were meant to do this. Maybe something good will come of this and you will inspire many.”