NACM Gathering 2020
Working closely with the Canadian Association of Midwives, NACM is closely monitoring the COVID 19 situation across Canada. In light of recent outbreaks of the virus, we are considering all options for the annual NACM Gathering. The 2020 venue for the CAM Conference, the Banff Arts Centre in Alberta, has significantly reduced its operations and is moving into an “essential services” footing for the next few months. Because we cannot know at this time how long it will take for the COVID 19 crisis to pass, we are examining all possible and viable options including postponement, cancellation or hosting a smaller event. We do not anticipate an update before May or June but will reach out to our members when we have any updates.
Every year, NACM members gather to connect, share about our work and communities, learn, and plan for the future of Indigenous midwifery in Canada.
It is an opportunity to support each other and the important work of Indigenous midwives to bring birth back to our communities. This usually takes place in the Fall, after the Canadian Association of Midwives conference.
We hope you will join us next year for NACM’s Gathering October 2020 in Banff, where we will look at supporting Indigenous midwifery in Alberta.
NACM Gathering 2019
The 2019 Gathering Lighting the Eastern Fire took place on Saturday, October 26 in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS) at the Westin Nova Scotian and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre.
We welcomed a presentation by Autumn Cavender‑Wilson, a Wahpetunwan Dakota midwife, to guide us in discussions about NACM’s work, and had time to connect with one another.
NACM Participation at the CAM Conference
This year we also expanded our involvement in the CAM Conference from October 23‑25.
We opened the conference with singing, drumming and ceremony. We were welcomed by Grand Keptin of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Andrew Denny. Elder Maggie Paul drummed and sang, and Elder Siasi Smiler lit a ceremonial qullik and spoke about the importance of Indigenous midwifery. Mi’kmaw artist Lorne Julien drummed and sang, and Mi’kmaw midwives Diane Simon and Alisha Julien Reid were honoured for their work. NACM also organized a teepee and 24‑hour sacred fire, and two sunrise ceremonies led by Grand Keptin Andrew Denny and Elder Maggie Paul. Elder Jane Abram opened the first full day of the conference on October 24.
Grand Keptin of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council Andrew Denny welcomes delegates at the 2019 CAM Conference opening ceremony.
Additionally, NACM hosted a pre‑conference community workshop called Growing Indigenous Midwifery in the Atlantic Region.
Participants gathered from across the Maritimes to share strategies around growing Indigenous midwifery in this region. NACM also hosted two NACM‑members only workshops: Navigating Child‑Family Welfare Services, and Diversifying Paths to Education: Listening to Our Students.