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Thrival Tools: On Indigenous Winter Survival and Brilliance

Thrival Tools: On Indigenous Winter Survival and Brilliance took place at the Central Library in downtown Madison on February 26, 2022, and included a series of speakers representing different Tribes and traditions, song, throat singing, and more. The goal of Thrival Tools was to provide a space for sharing cultural practices amongst Native peoples, as well as introducing non-Native people to the myriad methods by which Indigenous communities have thrived throughout the year in this region, but especially during winter.

“Native peoples have relied on community care, support, and understanding to exist in what is now called North America, Wisconsin, and Madison since time immemorial,” said the Thrival Tools team. “We have thrived in regions that now require extensive reliance on external resources. Thrival Tools brings together Indigenous methods of existence through food, art, and land sovereignty.”

The first event was created and planned by a trio of Indigenous Madisonians:

  • nipinet (Anishinaabe, Michif)
  • aabaabikaawikwe (Anishinaabe)
  • nibiiwakamigkwe (Onyota'a:ka, Anishinaabe, Métis)

Thrival Tools is a celebration of Indigenous resiliency - bringing practices and perspectives from Ho-Chunk, Chicana Ojibwe, and Yup’ik traditions through stories and song."We hope to bring greater awareness to Indigenous livelihoods and our resiliency in our own words and methods,” said the Thrival Tools team. “So often, Indigenous narratives are told without our presence and focus on our genocide and disenfranchisement. We are more than this." 

Event Program:

  • MadTown Singers Native Drum Group sings a welcome song 
  • Jon-Jon Greendeer, Ho Chunk Nation Health and Wellness Coordinator, shares Ho Chunk stories and lifeways
  • Shadayra Kilfoy-Flores, Chicana community organizer and activist, teaches a workshop on wintertime medicinal drinks: fire cider and champurrado. 
  • Biskakone Johnson, Lac Du Flambeau Ojibwe knowledge keeper and artist, discusses treaty rights and food sovereignty
  • Anastasia Adams, Yup’ik educator and performer, offers traditional Inuit throat singing utilized as entertainment and survival during long northern winters
  • MadTown Singers Native Drum Group closes the evening with a traveling song

Additional resources were provided at the event for attendees to internalize the learning and experience. The library and event organizers collaborated to provide an Indigenous-focused book display, reading lists, online resources, recipes, and more. Guests could also attend via a Live Stream provided by @GigiiGemin on Facebook.(link is external).