Jackie Three Irons is an enrolled member of the Crow Tribe of Montana. She and her family reside just outside of Crow Agency, Montana near the town of Hardin. We asked her to descibe, in her words, what it means to be a mother. This is what she had to say.
When I sit in calm silence and I watch my children and my grandchild in peaceful reflection, I remember my teachings from my Grandmothers and Great Grandmothers. They perfected the meaning of “Mother.” These women were strong, resilient, prayerful women who held strong to their cultures, their heritage and to prayer. They taught their children daily over decades how to be respectful and productive people, and for this I have put forth my best to raise resilient, strong, determined and prayerful children of my own. I teach them to contribute great things first to themselves, and then to their own families and their communities, be it their work communities or the communities they reside in.
I have tried to instill dignity and happiness in my children and have taught them the ways of my culture so that it will live on in them and their own children.
As a mother I hold on to the hearts of my children for eternity, yet I understand I must let them go to become what their hearts desire. I know that I have given my children the best tools to go throughout the world in a good way as my Grandmothers did for me. Being a mother is forever and it is the best thing I have ever done.