News and events by date of posting

Symposium on Midwifery for Aboriginal Leaders

Monday, November 07th, 2011

One-day conference for First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders who are interested in learning how midwifery and Aboriginal midwives can provide excellent primary health care for Aboriginal women and their families in communities across Canada.

The conference will be held on November 7th at the Community Hall in Ohsweken, Six Nations of the Grand River.

large_CAM 2009 037.jpgThe conference will begin with opening remarks and lecture from Dr. Don Wilson, the first Aboriginal Obstetrician and Gynecologist in Canada and chair of the Aboriginal Women’s Health Committee of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. Presentations from Aboriginal midwives working in a range of Aboriginal communities, representing urban, rural and remote practices, will be followed with an in-depth tour of the Six Nations Birthing Centre (Tsi Non:we Ionnakeratstha Ona:grah), a leading example of community-based maternity care operating on reserve. The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives believes there has never been a time in our history when the knowledge and services of Aboriginal midwives has been needed more. Maternal and child health statistics in our communities fall well below that of the rest of Canada. As the rest of Canada’s fertility rates decline, the fertility rates of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples increase. This is in the midst of a severe shortage of maternity health care providers. Our communities are already underserved and will feel the effects of this crisis disproportionately in the coming years. It is therefore crucial that we take birth back into our own hands, and step up our efforts to provide access to midwifery care services in all Aboriginal communities. This conference will give you the opportunity to hear about what present day Aboriginal midwives do for their communities, the education they have received and the values and traditions they preserve for the families they provide care to. Presentations will highlight the improved health outcomes in communities where there are midwives and the high levels of client satisfaction of women who have been cared for by midwives. This is an important opportunity to meet Aboriginal midwives who have been educated through a variety of education routes (from traditional apprenticeship programs to university programs) and who work in a diversity of communities across Canada. The conference will close with a shared meal, entertainment, and the warm hospitality of the Six Nations communities. Our goal is that by the end of this day, you will have had an opportunity to learn about midwifery directly from midwives and be provided with tools to begin or continue to plan your next steps towards improving maternal care in your community, with the help of the midwifery model. We will insure that you have all materials and information you need to share the knowledge and excitement of the conference with your communities. Conference registration, which includes three meals on November 7th, is free of charge. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide funding for travel or accommodation. Accommodation at a reduced rate is available at the Sheraton Hotel in Hamilton (please mention NACM when booking to receive group rates). A shuttle service between Hamilton and Ohsweken will be provided free of charge. Please RSVP your presence by filling out the attached Registration Form and sending it to Eby Heller, [email protected], 514 807-3668. Early notification of your attendance will allow us to develop a personalized package on the midwifery services in your area. We look forward to sharing this groundbreaking day with you.

NACM launches new website and resource materials for Aboriginal communities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 16th, 2012

The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) is pleased to announce the launch of its website along with a new series of educational materials that focus on Aboriginal Midwifery. The website and the educational materials, which include video, web and print materials, are intended to provide support, information and resources to First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals interested in the profession of midwifery as well as to communities interested in returning birth to their region.  All the promotional materials, along with additional information, can be found at www.aboriginalmidwives.ca.

The profession of midwifery is as old as any Aboriginal community. A midwife in an Aboriginal community is not only someone who cares for pregnant women; she is a person who is knowledgeable in many aspects of women’s health. She provides education that helps keep the family and the community healthy.  During the process of colonization, midwifery in our communities has become nearly extinct, with only a handful of Aboriginal midwifery practices across the country active today.

Today, more than ever, Aboriginal communities need the skills, values and knowledge that midwives have to share.  The core competencies of midwives around ensuring maternal health and well being, establishing breastfeeding, promoting infant bonding, and are deeply needed in the struggles to overcome the major health crises within Aboriginal communities today, such as diabetes, childhood obesity and addictions.  Midwifery care, in its holistic approach centred on the well-being of family and community, is integral to regaining our health. 

The new resources launched by NACM aim to provide not only an inspiration to young people who may be interested in becoming midwives, but also aim to provide concrete knowledge and tools for First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities who are looking to reclaim birth and midwifery care.  These materials include three inspiring videos, and accompanying pamphlets, focused on the history and importance of Aboriginal midwifery, the scope of practice of a modern Aboriginal midwife, and the educational pathways to becoming an Aboriginal midwife.  In addition, a series of ten posters featuring the Core Values of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives and the portraits of ten different Aboriginal midwives and students have been released.  As Katsi Cook, Aboriginal Midwife, has said, “I think that as more Aboriginal women enter the field of midwifery and are able to grow in their practice and experience, they are going to awaken and become alive to this incredible dimension of knowledge, power and intelligence that will heal our generations.”

All materials are available to interested individuals and communities, free of charge, either online or in printed form via the postal service.  If you or your community is interested in printed materials, please use the contact information below. 

The launch of these resources is timed with NACM’s Annual Gathering and the Canadian Association of Midwives’s (CAM) Annual Conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  This year, CAM’s conference theme is “Choice. Access. Midwives.” which emphasizes the importance for all women to have equal access to choose midwifery care.  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. 

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.

 

For more information, visit our website at www.aboriginalmidwives.ca

Or please contact: Nathalie Pambrun and Kerry Bebee, Co-Chairs, NACM

Eby Heller, NACM coordinator

(514) 807-3668, [email protected]

For immediate media inquiries (Oct 16-Oct 20) please contact Eby Heller at 514 585-2760 or at email address above. 

Press Release: NACM supports Families of Sisters in Spirit

NATIONAL ABORIGINAL COUNCIL OF MIDWIVES SUPPORTS FAMILIES OF SISTERS IN SPIRIT

We at the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) would like to express our support for the Families of Sisters in Spirit in their work of bringing light to the plight of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.

 

For many years now, families of Aboriginal women and girls have been coming together on October 4th to mourn their lost daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, grandmothers. Each year, the number of vigils that are taking place across the country is growing. It is essential to have a place to mourn together this loss. But it is also important that all levels of government be held accountable for their inaction on this issue, which in essence permits this tragedy to continue to be perpetuated.

 

Families of Sisters in Spirit, as an organisation, NACM stands in solidarity with you. If you would like more information about the Families of Sisters in Spirit, please visit their Facebook page, by going to the following link

 

 

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.

NACM receives funding to promote Aboriginal Midwifery

NACM's  "Campaign to Protect the Future of Aboriginal Communities: Promoting the Profession and Practice of Aboriginal Midwifery" has been a huge success over 2011-2012.  

NACM received funding last October through the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI) of Health Canada to promote midwifery within Aboriginal communities across Canada.  NACM has launched three videos (available on this website) promoting the profession and practice of Aboriginal midwifery.  A series of pamphlets and posters to accompany these videos will be released shortly.  

In addition, NACM midwife members visited a total of seven different communities to provide direct support to communities working to bring birth back.  Midwives visited Mohawk communities Tyendinaga and Akwesasne, Haida communities Skidegate and Old Massett, and three communities in the Athabasca region of Northern Saskatchewan, Black Lake, Fond du Lac and Stony Rapids in order to lead workshops and community consultations with health care professionals and community members.  NACM is compiling a "Resource and Toolkit" in response to the needs of these and other communities that are working to revive midwifery practice.  NACM has heard from many other communities that have asked for similar in-person support, and we hope to be able to provide this in the future.  If your community is interested in learning more about how NACM can support you in returning birth and midwifery to your community, please contact [email protected].