Indigenous woman spearheads moon time bag project to provide personal hygiene to Calgary’s unhoused

Personal hygiene products aren’t always easily accessible for people who live on the streets and in shelters and a Calgary woman is looking to change that.

Every week Alycia Two Bears creates personal care packages, destined for the unhoused and vulnerable. Two Bears is committed to supporting all marginalized menstruators, giving them personal hygiene products like tampons and pads. She said it’s about dignity of care.

Assembling moon time bags. Jill Croteau/Global News

“I wanted to remind people who don’t have access to bathroom and they are bleeding involuntarily once a month, ‘We got you, we still love you, we see you, you are going to be taken care of,’” Two Bears said.

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Her “moon time bags” support bleeding bodies; they include pads, liners, tampons, underwear, chocolate, tea, lip balm and sage smudge.

“When I smudge, it’s a practice of gratitude and love and my prayers go to ancestors.

“I want them to always remember who they are,” Two Bears said.

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She’s a yoga teacher and birthworker who started the project almost two years ago.

“I took on a project as a yoga teacher and didn’t know it right away but figured out it was for a pipeline company. I have a personal and public stance against pipelines and I panicked. I still did the work and told myself I can’t keep the money and wondered how do I give this directly back into community.”

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Two Bears took the $375 and went to buy a cart full of personal hygiene products.

“That was 18 months ago and I shared them with volunteers to distribute them.”

Every Friday night, Calgary’s Bear Clan Patrol head downtown to gift the wellness packages to people in need. Yvonne Henderson is one of the original members. She said the moon time bags are a critical piece to their initiative.

Bear Clan Patrol. Jill Croteau/Global News

“When people see the smudge and the sage it connects them to home and their spirit to home and that’s the biggest gift they can get,” Henderson said. “For so many unhoused this is traditional Blackfoot territory and our heart remember this area and that medicine connects them, it reminds them they belong.”

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Robin Raweater is a long-time volunteer and said people she connects with are so grateful for the care packages.

“The moon is the most sacred time a woman goes through, her cycle and we need to remind these women at their lowest time they are still sacred, they are still loved,” Raweater said.

Bear Clan Patrol before heading out on Friday night. Jill Croteau/Global News

The moon time bag project evolved to include men. Two Bears also makes “warrior bags” full of self-care products. Lee Breaker from Siksika Nation volunteered for the first time with Bear Clan Patrol and appreciated the sentiment of helping the community return to their roots.

“We are a family and when we see our people suffering we need to support them they best way we could,” Breaker said.

The hope is, one day soon, they won’t have to provide these basic necessities, but until they’re widely available, Two Bears will graciously accept donations. You can reach her at goodwomanmedicine@gmail.com or ‘The Moss Bag Project’ can also accept donations.

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