This year’s theme for the Commission on the Status of Women 62 is Empowering Rural Women and Girls. UNA-OKC took this to heart when we chose our panelists and the topics we would be covering. We looked at what issues Oklahoma women and girls, both urban and rural, face in this state. We kept coming back to one unfortunately, often overlooked group: the Indigenous women and girls of Oklahoma. It is important to acknowledge that we are on stolen land and the effects that it has had on Indigenous maternal health and well being. We found just the person to talk about just that.
Meet Enedina Banks. Enedina Banks is a proud member of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation. She was born and raised here in Oklahoma until she was 15 when she moved to Kansas where her Potawatomi roots are. She completed high school at Kickapoo Nation School on the Kickapoo reservation in Kansas. She later attended St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, where she now resides and received an AA in Business Administration. Enedina has been married to Vincil Banks for 12 years and is the proud mother of four children Skupkonkot, Zawzeequa, Wahpunose and Wahweya. Mrs. Banks is working diligently to raise her children in both the modern and the traditional world. Mrs. Banks has presented on the importance of breastfeeding as a very natural and key part of a traditional upbringing. Enedina Banks has been an advocate and activist for Indigenous women’s health issues for over a decade and has spoken on behalf of these causes at numerous conferences such as the National Indian and Native America Coalition WIC Conference. The Huffington Post has published and shared her story further ensuring her hope of empowering women and educating the world about motherhood in her culture. She currently uses her passion for preserving and teaching Native culture in her position as a Language Instructor for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, Oklahoma. In her role with the CPN Language Department, she particularly enjoys teaching the Potawatomi language to children in the tribal day care.
To hear more about Enedina and her work come and join us at this year’s International Women’s Day Program. Buy tickets here.