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First Baby Celebration of 2016 draws capacity crowd at Seventh Generation

Joseph V. Sowmick - January 14, 2016

First Baby Celebration of 2016 draws capacity crowd at Seventh Generation

By Joseph V. Sowmick, Photojournalist

Family, friends and loved ones gathered together as the first Baby Celebration of 2016 drew a capacity crowd to the Seventh Generation Program Elijah Elk Cultural Center on Jan. 6.  Seventh Generation Administrative Assistant Lee Ann Ruffino informs the first baby celebration was held on Mar. 21, 1994 at the Soaring Eagle Bingo Hall. 

“At that first celebration, there were 150 people attending including 25 infants.  The event coordinated under the Seventh Generation Program was a success, and the twice a year celebration still is to this day,” Ruffino said.  “Project Coordinator Milton “Beaver” Pelcher stated then, “it is important to work toward values and morals as did our ancestors of years past, our unborn and new born represent our future.” 

Seventh Generation Cultural Representative Dawn Morrow served as emcee and mentioned the first Baby Celebration of 2016 brought in 59 guests as well as twenty mothers and their infant babies. 

“This community event is truly a team effort coordinated through Seventh Generation and is co-sponsored by Nimkee Healthy Start and Anishinabe Child & Family Services (ACFS), Tribal Elder Sandy Smith from Behavioral Health, and Debbie Peterson from Tribal Education,” Morrow said.  “This event is a great start for the New Year and to celebrate the Circle of Life.” 

Nimkee Healthy Child Start Nurse Anna Hon stated it is always one of her cherished events twice a year through the Healthy Start Program to collaborate with the Seventh Generation, Behavioral Health, ACFS, and the others who volunteer to make such a wonderful welcome to our new little ones in our community.  “It’s truly a blessing to witness the great atmosphere of the young parents and their families, while they gathered to enjoyed a wonderful hearty meal and welcomed by the drum and gifted by departments who so generously purchase things for our young families,” Hon said.  “The buzz of the older children was music to my ears. This time the older children could do a variety of activities such as playing with kinetic sand, and making magnets and creating a button to wear proclaiming they now have a new brother or sister.”

Nimkee Healthy Child Start Nurse Helen Williams informs Healthy Start is a maternal health program for pregnant women and their children up to age two.  

“It is our great pleasure to provide care for the community mothers and their children. It is especially nice to be able to celebrate the joy of new life with the friends and family of the babies. The Baby Celebration is a great way for all of the community children and parents to get to know each other,” Williams said.  “It has been my privilege to serve the Tribal community as a Healthy Start Nurse for the last ten years and it has been wonderful to watch the babies grow into teens. I have truly been blessed.” 


Tribal Council Sgt. at Arms Ronald F. Ekdahl attended the event with his wife Rosemary, their son Michael and their newborn son Ronnie. 


“I would like to say that I really enjoy this event.  The staff does a great job and it is so wonderful to see all of the babies in the community.  The speaker (Elder, Grandmother and Mother Kathy LeBlanc from Bay Mills) did a great job and had a very unique and interesting message,” Ekdahl said.  “I would like to give a shout out to Debbie Peterson and Lee Ruffino for the great gift of the pins.  Also we got a beautiful blanket for our new baby boy that is so appreciated.  I would like to say miigwetch to the entire staff for the hard work and wonderful event for the community to enjoy.”


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