Indigenous Midwifery Charts New Path for Healthy Beginnings at Summit

February 8, 2019

Thunder Bay -  For immediate release

The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM), in collaboration with Chiefs of Ontario, Grand Council Treaty #3, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, and Indigenous Services Canada is hosting a summit to chart the path forward for Indigenous Midwifery. 

Historically, midwives held a distinct role within Indigenous communities. However, colonization and assimilation policies outlawed midwifery, contributing to cultural destruction, family breakdown including forced removal of infants and children from family and land, and poor health outcomes for women, infants and families. 

“In Ontario’s far north, the common practice of removing pregnant people from their communities and sending them to urban centres for care has been referred to as the “residential schools of medicine”. Midwifery is an antidote to these traumatic processes.  Midwifery returns birth to communities and supports family connection by providing culturally appropriate and primary care close to home,” says Ellen Blais, Director of Indigenous Midwifery at the AOM.

Today, some thirty Indigenous midwives are engaged in the profound work of returning birth to their people. These passionate midwives are transforming health and they will gather in Thunder Bay at the Indigenous Midwifery Summit with an additional 100 Indigenous community members, experts and thought leaders to chart a new path for Indigenous midwifery in Ontario.

Nathalie Pambrun, President of the Canadian Association of Midwives and Indigenous Midwife, says a new path is needed which can “eliminate barriers and ensure all Indigenous babies are born on their territory with midwives. Indigenous communities need care that honours the critical, restorative and deep healing work undertaken by midwives.”

Interested parties can read more about the summit at: https://www.ontariomidwives.ca/indigenous-midwifery-summit-2019; Click here for the full agenda.

Contact Info:
To schedule interviews with Ellen Blais you may reach her at Ellen.Blais@aom.on.ca, 416-846-0826, and Nathalie Pambrun at nathaliepambrun@gmail.com. To attend the summit or arrange interviews with participants, contact Juana Berinstein at Juana.Berinstein@aom.on.ca, 416-371-1468.