An article was published today on CBC news, regarding the Northern Manitoba First Nations community of Norway House. The journalist, Chantelle Bellrichard, interviewed Darlene Birch, a renowned midwife and NACM member who recently received an award in recognition of her work. She also interviewed several mothers from the community, who discussed in very eloquent terms both their strong desire to be able to assert their right to give birth in the community, as well as how disruptive it is for women to be forcibly evacuated from their community.
The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) exists to promote excellence in reproductive health care for Inuit, First Nations, and Metis women. 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.
I will never forget the story of one young urban Aboriginal mother who reported that her grandmother had attended her hospital birth in a major Canadian city. In the quiet moments of the woman’s labor when hospital staff were absent from her side, her grandmother guided her through her unmedicated birth using song, touch, and herb tea.