Nunavut minister praises new book on Inuit midwifery

Par Nunatsiaq Online | mars 13, 2013
"Important to preserve the memories and knowledge of elders and traditional midwives"

Nunavut’s midwifery students and midwives can now learn more about traditional Inuit knowledge and birthing practices.

That’s thanks to a new book called Birth on the Land – Memories of Inuit Elders and Traditional Midwives, published by Nunavut Arctic College, with the support of the Nunavut’s Department of Health and Social Services.

The new book, by Bev O’Brien, a nurse practitioner, registered midwife, and professor with the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta, is available in Inuktitut and English.

Published late last year, the book was recognized March 7 in the Nunavut legislature by Daniel Shewchuk, the minister responsible for Nunavut Arctic College.

“This new learning resource was required by the territory’s new midwifery legislation to have information available on traditional midwifery practices for all registered midwives practising in Nunavut,” Shewchuk said.

“The book will not only be useful to our midwifery students, but also to other health care providers. It is important to preserve the memories and knowledge of elders and traditional midwives. This book will also be presented to midwives who register to work in Nunavut.”

Contributors to the book included:

• 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.

“I would like to thank those Inuit and elders who dedicated their time to contribute their knowledge to publishing a project like this a success,” Shewchuk said.