Honouring Dr. Sylvia Maracle at the Ontario Midwifery Conference, May 28, 2024

April 30, 2024

The AOM is honoured to celebrate the extraordinary contributions of Dr. Sylvia Maracle (Skonaganleh:ra), Wolf Clan, from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, whose pivotal role in the advancement of Indigenous midwifery in Ontario will be recognized at the Ontario Midwifery Conference (OMC) on May 28, 2024, with an honorary AOM membership.

Dr. Maracle’s relentless advocacy and influence on public policy has fundamentally altered the landscape for Indigenous communities throughout the province and across Canada. Her visionary leadership as the Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres for over four decades, together with her positions on various boards including the Canadian Centre for Addictions and Mental Health, the Indigenous (Aboriginal) Healing and Wellness Strategy and Legal Aid Ontario, have made her a key figure in creating effective and sustainable change that has helped form the foundation for improved health and well-being for Indigenous families and communities.  

Dr. Maracle is also responsible for shaping the legal frameworks that directly impact Indigenous midwifery. Her instrumental work in the implementation of the Exemption Clause of the Midwifery Act (1991) has ensured Indigenous (Aboriginal) midwives can provide care to Indigenous individuals and families while being governed by their own communities —not only a landmark achievement in preserving traditional Indigenous birth practices, but also in the reclamation of the right to self-determination.

Dr. Maracle has also been an important advocate for Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities. She is a founding Co-Chair for Two Spirits in Motion, the national advocacy group to support 2SLGBTQIA+ Indigenous community members, and her work to end violence against Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals has involved a grassroots approach to implementing change and inclusion at the local, regional and national levels.

Her efforts have been recognized nationally, with her receiving an appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada, as well as Doctor of Laws degrees from Guelph University, York University, Trent University and Queen’s University.

Her approach combines deep respect for traditional knowledge with strategic advocacy, ensuring that Indigenous voices are not only heard but are also integral in policy-making processes. As we honour Dr. Maracle at the Ontario Midwifery Conference, we celebrate her immense contributions and her ongoing commitment to health and wellness, to justice and empowerment for Indigenous communities.

View the program for the OMC.