Traditional Mexican medicine and birth work
Cerradas are intimate experiences based on trust, respect and tenderness. Every closing is unique. Every closing is a gift.” – Brenda Montaño
Brenda Montaño of Zines with Sol is a Xicana Indigena birth worker who practices Traditional Mexican Medicine. She first became involved in the tradition following the birth of her first child, after which she sought out BIPOC doula training in Oakland and learned alongside Queer, BIPOC practitioners and parents. The experience initiated her into a movement of birth workers aiming to return tradition, dignity, and autonomy to the birthing experience. Across her seven years as a birth worker, she has learned from parteras [midwives] such as Maria Ramos Bracamontes, Berenice Dimas, Sumayaah Franklin, and Tema Mercado; she has also been mentored in healing the spirit and mind by Mexican danzante [traditional dancer] and licensed clinical social worker Emilia Ortega-Jara. Currently, Montaño is a core member of Colectiva SOAR, a collective of BIPOC birth and care workers based in Siskiyou County who work primarily with BIPOC families. She is also a DIY artist inspired by street art and zine culture.
Living Cultures Grant
La Cerrada: Sustaining Traditional Postpartum Care for Indigenous and Mexican Communities
Montaño will facilitate La Cerrada, a traditional closing ceremony held at the end of the postpartum time, free of cost for five Indigenous and Mexican families in Siskiyou and Modoc county, prioritizing Spanish-speaking, undocumented, low-income, and single-parent households. She will also organize a sacred talking circle to share songs, cuentos (stories), reflections and collective visions for community.