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, nacm@canadianmidwives.org

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