• Quebec Native Women and National Aboriginal Council of Midwives Launches Aboriginal Midwifery Toolkit
Mar 31, 2014

Montreal, March 27th, 2013 – 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 www.aboriginalmidwives.ca/toolkit.

“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 will be hosting a special reception for the launch of the Toolkit on March 27th at 5pm, at 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 government to commit to Aboriginal women and families having access to midwifery care, whether they live in urban, rural, remote or reserve communities through recognition of midwifery at the federal treasury board.

About NAC

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, Mig’maq, 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 www.aboriginalmidwives.ca

Or please contact:

Ellen Blais and Kerry Bebee

Co-Chairs, NACM

Valérie Perrault, NACM coordinator

(514) 807-3668

nacm@canadianmidwives.org