Midwives and Nishnawbe Aski Nation Sign Relationship Accord

March 25, 2021

Media Release

TORONTO: The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) is honoured to embark in a partnership with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) through the signing of a historic relationship accord.   A ceremony was held over Zoom. The Accord will work to return Indigenous midwifery within NAN territory.

In their May 2017 resolution, Support for Developing Maternity Services Model in NAN Communities, NAN identifies midwifery care as a pathway to improved health and the regeneration of strong families while asserting that birth is a deeply profound and sacred event.

“This Relationship Accord on Health Transformation and Governance will guide a partnership between midwives and NAN in developing mutually supportive initiatives within NAN territory to return birth, build capacity and transform the experiences of First Nations people within the health system,” said Ellen Blais, from Oneida Nation of the Thames and Director of Indigenous Midwifery at the AOM.

NAN and the AOM are guided by a common vision that is grounded in health equity and the removal of barriers to safe and effective health care in NAN territory. This health transformation effort is a community-led and -driven process, where priorities and objectives are identified by NAN citizens themselves.

Blais stated, “The Association of Ontario Midwives is looking forward to beginning the journey with NAN to return birth and to solidify our relationship with Nishnawbe Aski Nation. We recognize the pressing need for Indigenous midwives and identification of community members who are interested in birth, and the long-standing inequities impacting access to quality health care in NAN territory. The AOM acknowledges the great value collective health transformation efforts will have for NAN citizens.” 

Media Contact:

Ellen Blais
Director, Indigenous Midwifery
Association of Ontario Midwives
Phone: 416-425-9974 x 2270 

About NAN

Nishnawbe Asik Nation (NAN) was established in 1973 and was originally known as Grand Council Treaty No. 9 until 1983. Grand Council Treaty No. 9 made a public declaration – A Declaration of Nishnawbe-Asik (The People and the Land) – of rights and principles in 1977. NAN territory encompasses James Bay Treaty No. 9 and the Ontario portion of Treaty No. 5 - a landmass covering two-thirds of the Province of Ontario, spanning 210,000 square miles. NAN citizens traditionally speak Cree and Algonquin in the east, OjiCree in the west, and Ojibway in the central south area. NAN represents 49 First Nations with a total population (on and off-reserve) of approximately 45,000 people grouped by Tribal Council. Six of our member Nations are not affiliated with a specific Tribal Council.

About the AOM

The AOM advances the clinical and professional practice of Indigenous/Aboriginal and Registered midwives in Ontario with a vision of midwives leading reproductive, pregnancy, birth & newborn care across Ontario. There are over 1,000 midwives in Ontario, serving more than 250 communities across the province. Since midwifery became a regulated health profession in 1994, more than 250,000 babies have been born under midwifery care.