Aboriginal Midwifery in Canada

An Aboriginal midwife is a committed primary health care provider who has the skills to care for pregnant women, babies, and their families throughout pregnancy and for the first weeks in the postpartum. She is also a person who is knowledgeable in all aspects of women’s medicine and she provides education that helps keep the family and the community healthy. Midwives promote breastfeeding, nutrition, and parenting skills. A midwife is the keeper of ceremonies for young people like puberty rites. She is a leader and mentor, someone who passes on important values about health to the next generation.

Aboriginal communities across Canada have always had midwives. It has only been in the last hundred years that this practice has been taken away from our communities. This occurred for a number of reasons, including colonization and changes in the health care system in Canada. As a result of losing midwifery, many rural and remote Aboriginal communities are currently required to deliver their babies and access care outside of their communities. Despite these changes, there are still some Aboriginal midwives practicing in a variety of settings across Canada. The vision of these midwives is to one day see “An Aboriginal midwife working in every Aboriginal community”.