Fond du Lac doula receives national award

Tammy Dixon has been working for 12 years to educate herself about how modern medical practices intersect with cultural tradition.

Tammy Dixon (Photo courtesy of Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)

The work of Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa member and doula Tammy Dixon received the Tribal Trailblazer Award presented at the 2021 National Breastfeeding Conference and Convening.

The Tribal Trailblazer was one of three award categories at the conference, which was held virtually from June 9 until June 11. According to the USBC website , the award seeks to recognize individuals of American Indian/Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian heritage who are actively involved in collaborative efforts to protect, promote and support breastfeeding in Native communities.

In her biography on the Fond du Lac Band website , Dixon said she first started as a birth doula in 1999 and has since found her calling in empowering, educating and supporting women during birth.

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"Each birth is exciting, different and each one creates a new family," she said on the website. "It is my great honor to serve women on that life-changing day."

Dixon said her personal experiences with pregnancy loss and a high-risk birth have equipped her with compassion and insight in her work.

In addition to being certified by Doulas of North America, Dixon also has an Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor certification, and has spent the past 12 years working to educate herself about how modern medical practices intersect with cultural tradition, according to a news release from the Fond du Lac Band.

"I'm always learning more and more about our Native culture because I was not brought up with that education," Dixon said in the release. "Participating in Native traditions makes me feel like I am a part of a community, and it's a beautiful thing because I know it's our cellular memory or something awakening in us."

During her time as a doula, Dixon has served over 200 clients offering them education and support through their birthing journey. She hopes that the Fond du Lac doula program will continue to provide further education and support to expecting families.

"When I'm assisting with a birth, I know that that's where I'm supposed to be at that moment," Dixon said. "We are the only mammal that questions our ability to give birth, and if more women encouraged each other to believe in their own power, we could do anything."

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