News and events by date of posting

NACM presentation for Manitoba midwives and students


March 4th, 2013: Nathalie Pambrun and Darlene Birch gave a presentation to midwives enrolled in the Multi-jurisdictional Midwifery Bridging Program (MMBP) and students of the University College of the North (UCN).  There were about 30 people who attended this event. During this presentation, Nathalie and Darlene discussed NACM’s role, vision and mission. They also discussed NACM’s approach to supporting normal birth in Aboriginal communities.  This was an enjoyable experience for everyone involved!

Press Release: NACM supports the Nishiyuu Walkers



We at the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) have been deeply moved and inspired by the vision, commitment, and endurance of the Nishiyuu Walkers who set out from the community of Whapmagoostui located in northern Cree territory on an important and urgent mission. These young men, who have since been joined by dozens of other young men and women, set out in frigid sub-zero weather two months ago to snowshoe and eventually walk their way down from the northern Hudson Bay coast all the way to Ottawa on a mission for their people and for all Indigenous peoples of this land. They will cover over 1,500 km during their journey. They seek unity between First Nations in support of each other and in defence of the sovereignty of our Nations, as well as to protect this beautiful land and water that we live upon and beside.  They call attention to the fact that we depend upon this land and water for our very lives and it is gravely threatened.  They call for a new and better relationship between Indigenous peoples and the government of Canada.  This journey is an extraordinary and courageous act.  In the words of journalist Cathryn Atkinson, “these are ordinary young people who are also extraordinary young people. They deserve our respect.”




As an organisation, NACM stands in solidarity with you, the Nishiyuu Walkers. You have not sat idly by when you felt that your land and your culture was threatened; when you realized that Indigenous peoples need to unite together towards the common cause of protecting our lands and waters—you took action.  We commend this bold and pure-hearted action. You set an amazing example for the rest of us and we extend heartfelt gratitude to you for your daily sacrifices and the physical, emotional, and psychological hard work that goes into such an arduous journey.  Again, as with the Idle No More movement, we are reminded of the strength that exists in Indigenous sovereignty itself.


We were pleased that Aboriginal midwife-in-training, Mandy Commonda, and her midwife colleague Jasmine Chatelain were able to organize a welcoming reception for the walkers in Wakefield, Quebec, and have joined others in helping the walkers with food and other needed support in order to complete their journey.  The midwives of Ottawa have also released a letter of support for the walkers and as many as possible intend to greet them upon their arrival.  Perhaps this journey has touched a chord with midwives in that it resembles so much a long labour which slowly but surely, through suffering, endurance, and patience, results in a birth.  But for the Nishiyuu Walkers this birth is a profound and inspiring birth of spirit, of consciousness, of awareness mixed with life-giving action.  We call for widespread awareness and support for the important mission of the Nishiyuu Walkers. Please click here for more information.


NACM is a diverse group of midwives from all regions of Canada, representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. We recognize that the good health and well-being of Aboriginal mothers and their babies is crucial to the empowerment of Aboriginal families and communities.  We advocate for the restoration of midwifery education, the provision of midwifery services, and choice of birthplace for all Aboriginal communities consistent with the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As active members of the Canadian Association of Midwives, we represent the professional development and practice needs of Aboriginal midwives to the responsible health authorities in Canada and the global community.

In addition, we commend and support all actions and movements to increase the good health and vitality of the Indigenous peoples of this land. 

If you require any additional support or information that NACM can provide, please do not hesitate to contact Valerie Perrault, administrator, at [email protected] or 514 807-3668. 


Kerry Bebee (co-chair) and Nathalie Pambrun (co-chair)

on behalf of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives

New video on Aboriginal midwifery on AOM website

February 2013. The Association of Ontario Midwives (AOM) recently released a video testimonial, featuring the story of an Aboriginal mother, Sara Luey. In this moving video, Sara tells her story and how care by Aboriginal midwives had a transformational impact in her life.  This testimonial confirms NACM’s vision of “Aboriginal midwives working in every Aboriginal community”. As Aboriginal midwives we see the critical need for culturally secure care within our communities and the difference midwifery care makes within Indigenous and underserved communities alike. To see this video, click here.

New video on home birth in Inukjuak on Isuma website

New Video about home birth in Nunavik: "Nutaraqtaariavittuq - Expecting the child"


This powerful video follows the journey of the 1st Inuk woman, Phoebe Atagootalook, to have a home birth in Nunavik in more than 40 years. This video illustrates how bringing birth back to northern communities is such an essential and empowering process.

To watch the video, click here.

Nunavut minister praises new book on Inuit midwifery


Nunavut Arctic College recently published, with the support of Nunavut's Department of Health and Social Services, a book entitled "Birth on the Land- Memories of Inuit Elders and traditional midwives". This book was written by Bev O'Brien with the help of many contributors, including: Qapik Attagutsiak and Kigutikarjuk Shappa of Arctic Bay; Annie Buchan, Quyok Poodlak, Bernadette Uttaq, and Matthew Uttaq of Taloyoak; Lena Evalik and Mary Kaniak from Bay Chimo; Bessie Emingak from Perry River and Cambridge Bay; Mabel Etegik, Lena Kamoayok, Nora Evaglok, Mary Avalik, and Eva Otokiak from Cambridge Bay; Alasi Joamie from Pangnirtung; Natsiq Kango from Iqaluit; Rhoda Karetak of Arviat; Orsoralik Ottokie from Cape Dorset; Maryanne Tapati and Nowyah Williams from Rankin Inlet; and Annie Napayok and Agnes Teneer from Whale Cove.

It is available in Inuktitut and English and contains information about traditional midwifery practices. It was published late last year and has been praised by Daniel Shewchuk, the Minister responsible for Nunavut Artctic College.

To learn more, click here.


Press Release: NACM and QNW launch Toolkit in Quebec

National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and Quebec Native Women launch the Aboriginal Midwifery Toolkit in Montreal, Quebec

Resource aims to increase midwifery care for First Nations, Inuit and Métis

Le texte en français se trouve ci-dessous.

Montreal, March 27th, 2014 – Quebec Native Women (QNW) and National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) are pleased to announce the launch of the Aboriginal Midwifery Toolkit. Developed to provide concrete knowledge and tools for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities looking to bring birth and midwifery care closer to home, the Toolkit is an interactive online resource with a print version designed for communities with limited internet access. It can be found at

“We’re in an exciting time where we have a number of Aboriginal midwives working in innovative practices to provide safe and professional care to Aboriginal communities across Canada”, said Ellen Blais, Co-chair of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives. “This Toolkit is an opportunity for communities to explore the role of midwives historically and the impact they can have on the health and wellness of women, children and families”, concluded Ms. Blais.

The Toolkit includes jurisdiction specific sections, covering topics such as pertinent legislation, governance and funding options, tools to assess community specific maternal health needs and ways to develop midwifery services closer to home. It also includes video documentation captured during community consultations which took place in 2012 that speak to the impact midwifery can have on improved maternal and infant health outcomes. Birth closer to home builds stronger community ties, connection to the land and a place and space for self-determination.

"Having experienced giving birth in a traditional tent myself, I can speak directly on the importance of empowering women's choices of giving birth in a natural setting," said Viviane Michel, President of Quebec Native Women. "It is with pride that Quebec Native Women offers support in promoting and distributing the Aboriginal Midwifery toolkit."

The toolkit is now being launched in Montreal for the Quebec region. QNW and NACM hosted a special reception for the launch of the Toolkit on March 27th at 5pmat the Centre de développement communautaire autochtone à Montréal (CDCAM). These materials have been developed with financial support from the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch’s Aboriginal Health and Human Resources Initiative.

Access to culturally appropriate midwifery care for Aboriginal women and families is extremely limited across Canada, despite the evidence that midwifery care leads to improved health outcomes. Aboriginal women and their infants have a two to four times higher morbidity and mortality rate than the average Canadian. It is clear that increasing access to midwifery care will help our communities to improve health in a holistic way. QNW and NACM call on the federal and provincial governments to commit to Aboriginal women and families having access to midwifery care, whether they live in urban, rural, remote or reserve communities.

About NACM

The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives is a diverse group of midwives from all regions of Canada, representing First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. We recognize that the good health and well-being of Aboriginal mothers and their babies is crucial to the empowerment of Aboriginal families and communities. We advocate for the restoration of midwifery education, the provision of midwifery services, and choice of birthplace for all Aboriginal communities consistent with the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As active members of the Canadian Association of Midwives, we represent the professional development and practice needs of Aboriginal midwives to the responsible health authorities in Canada and the global community.

About QNW

Quebec Native Women (QNW) is a bilingual non-profit organization created by a community initiative in 1974. Our membership is composed of women from ten of Quebec’s eleven Aboriginal Nations (the Abenaki, Algonquin, Atikamek, Huron-Wendat, Innu, Eeyou, Malecite, Mi’gmaq, Mohawk and Naskapi Nations), and of individuals from various Aboriginal groups in the rest of Canada who live in Quebec’s cities. QNW’s mission is to defend the rights of Aboriginal women and their families, both collectively and individually, and to assert its members’ needs and priorities in dealings with governments, the civil society and decision-makers, in every sector of activity connected with Aboriginal rights.

For more information on NACM, visit our website at

Or please contact:

Ellen Blais and Kerry Bebee

Co-Chairs, NACM

Valérie Perrault, NACM coordinator

(514) 807-3668

[email protected]

For immediate media inquiries please contact Valérie Perrault at 514 216-2213 or at the email address above.

For more information on QNW, visit our website at or contact Marie-Celine Charron at 450-632-0088 ext.230


Montréal, 27 mars, 2014 – Femmes Autochtones du Québec (FAQ) et le National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) ont le plaisir d’annoncer le lancement d’un Outil de travail pour encourager le développement de la pratique des sages-femmes autochtones. Développé pour fournir des connaissances concrètes et des outils pour les communautés Premières Nations, Inuits et Métis qui cherchent à ramener les accouchements dans les communautés, cet Outil de travail est principalement une ressource électronique, avec une version imprimée pour les communautés ayant un accès limité à l’internet. On peut le trouver au

« Nous  sommes dans une période excitante : nous avons un nombre de sages-femmes autochtones travaillant de façon innovatrice pour fournir des soins professionnels et sécuritaires aux communautés à travers le Canada, » dit Ellen Blais, co-présidente de NACM. « Cet Outil de travail permet aux communautés d’explorer le rôle des sages-femmes historiquement, ainsi que l’impact qu’elles peuvent avoir présentement sur le bien-être des femmes, des enfants et des familles. »

Il inclut des sections spécifiques pour chacune des régions, couvrant des sujets pertinents tels que la législation, la gouvernance ainsi que les options de financement,  des outils pour évaluer les besoins de santé maternelle spécifiques  aux communautés et les façons de développer des services sages-femmes autochtones. Il inclut aussi des vidéos filmés pendant les consultations communautaires qui ont eut lieu en 2012. Ces vidéos témoignent de l’impact que les sages-femmes peuvent avoir sur l’amélioration de la santé de la mère et de l’enfant. La naissance permet la création de liens communautaires plus forts, une connexion à la terre accrue, en plus d’encourager l’auto-détermination.

« Pour avoir fait l’expérience de donner naissance dans une tente traditionnelle, je peux témoigner directement de l’importance de donner ce pouvoir aux femmes, de leur donner le choix de donner naissance dans un milieu naturel », dit Viviane Michel, Présidente de Femmes Autochtones du Québec. « C’est avec fierté que Femmes Autochtones du Québec offre leur support pour faire la promotion et la distribution de l’Outil de travail pour encourager le développement de la pratique des sages-femmes autochtones. »

L’Outil de travail est maintenant en lancement à Montréal pour la région du Québec. FAQ et NACM ont été les hôtes du lancement de cet Outil de travail le 27 Mars à 17h au Centre de développement communautaire autochtone à Montréal (CDCAM).

Ce matériel a été développé avec le support financier de l’Initiative des ressources humaines du Département de la Santé des Premières Nations et Inuits. L’accès aux soins maternels culturellement appropriés pour les femmes et familles autochtones est extrêmement limité partout au Canada, bien que les données soutiennent que les soins des sages-femmes autochtones mènent à l’amélioration des résultats de santé. Les femmes autochtones et leurs enfants ont de deux à quatre fois plus de morbidité et mortalité que la moyenne canadienne. Il est clair que d’augmenter l’accès aux soins des sages-femmes autochtones aideraient nos communautés à améliorer la santé de façon holistique.

FAQ et NACM demandent aux gouvernements fédéral et provincial de s’engager auprès des femmes et familles autochtones afin qu’elles puissent avoir accès aux soins des sages-femmes autochtones.

A propos de FAQ

Femmes Autochtones du Québec (FAQ) est une organisation bilingue, sans but lucratif, qui est née d’une initiative communautaire en 1974. Nos membres sont des femmes provenant de 10 des 11 nations autochtones du Québec, telles que les Abénakis, les Algonquins, les Attikameks, les Hurons-Wendats, les Innus, les Eeyous, les Malécites, les Mi’gmaqs, les Mohawks et les Naskapis, ainsi que divers groupes autochtones du reste du Canada vivant en milieu urbain dans la région. La mission de FAQ est de militer en faveur des droits humains des femmes autochtones et de leur famille, à la fois collectivement et individuellement, afin de faire valoir les besoins et les priorités de ses membres auprès de tous les niveaux de gouvernement, de la société civile et des décideurs, et ce, dans tous les secteurs d’activités liés aux droits des peuples autochtones.

A propos de NACM

Le National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) est un groupe diversifié de sages-femmes de toutes les régions du Canada, issues des communautés des Premières Nations, des Inuits et des Métis. Nous reconnaissons que la santé et le bien-être des mères et des bébés sont essentiels pour atteindre l’empowerment des familles et des communautés autochtones. Nous militons pour le retour de la formation et des soins et services des sages-femmes autochtones, ainsi que pour le choix du lieu de l’accouchement pour toutes les communautés autochtones, en conformité avec la Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les Droits des peuples autochtones. En tant que membres de l’Association canadienne des sages-femmes, nous représentons les intérêts professionnels des sages-femmes autochtones à l’échelle nationale et internationale.

Pour plus d’informations, visitez


Ellen Blais and Kerry Bebee

Co-présidentes, NACM

Valérie Perrault, Coordonatrice NACM

(514) 807-3668

[email protected]


Pour tout renseignement, les médias peuvent s’adresser à Valérie Perrault au 514 216-2213 ou à l’adresse courriel ci-dessus.

Pour plus d’informations sur FAQ, visitez notre site web à  ou contactez Marie-Celine Charron au 450-632-0088 poste 230

Wakefield community welcomes Nishiyuu Walkers




March 2013. Six young Cree men under the age of 20 decided to set out on January 16th, 2013, accompanied by an experienced guide. Their mission is to reinforce the soveignty of their nation and to seek unity among all First Nations in Turtle Island at a time crucial for action in protecting the earth. Their epic journey, more than 1300 km long, started from their community of Whapmagoostui, which is located in Cree territory in Northern Quebec. Along the way, they have been joined by many more. There are now about 200 walkers that are planning on arriving in Ottawa, on March 24th. Mandy Commonda, an Aboriginal midwifery student at Laurentian University from Kitigan Zibi, and Jasmine Chatelain, a midwife working in the Ottawa area met as they were both inspired by the Quest of Wisjinichu-Nishiyuu.  Mandy became involved as she was contacted to help support the walkers between Kitigan Zibi and Ottawa. In true midwifery fashion, Mandy has been feeding and helping the walkers for many days. And when Kitigan Zibi reached out to other municipalities along the route for a safe and welcoming place to stay for the walkers, Wakefield reached out by offering their generous hand, Mandy and Jasmine met each other. Jasmine, with Mandy’s help, has organized hosting the walkers in her village of Wakefield, on March 23rd. NACM would like to thank Mandy and Jasmine for supporting the walkers on their historic quest. For more on the Journey of the Nishiyuu, you can go on their website.


For recent media coverage, you can read the article published in the Ottawa Citizen, on March 21st.