Indigenous communities across Canada have always had midwives.

Indigenous midwives were once a cornerstone of every Indigenous community. It has only been in the last hundred years that this practice has been taken away from our communities. Indigenous midwives were silenced and ordered to stop their important work. The silencing of Indigenous midwifery occurs as a result of colonization and the ongoing medicalization and systemic racism in the Canadian health care system.

Since 2002, Indigenous midwives from across Canada have come together almost every year, usually in association with the Canadian Association of Midwives (CAM)’s annual conference, to share and plan for the future of Indigenous midwifery in our communities.

Recognizing the need to establish a collective voice as Indigenous women working in our communities, NACM was officially established on November 11, 2008 at the third annual Gathering in Quebec City. This was a critical step in the restoration and renewal of midwifery in Indigenous communities across Canada.

Today, NACM membership consists of approximately 120 Indigenous midwives, midwife Elders, and student midwives. In 2017, 25% of all new midwifery students at Ryerson University in Ontario identified as Indigenous.

STRATEGIC PLAN

In April 2017, NACM adopted a three‑year Strategic Plan focusing on five strategic directions.
1. Maintaining and promoting Indigenous knowledges and practices regarding maternal and infant health
2. Expanding Indigenous midwifery in Canada
3. Advancing Indigenous midwifery as a valued profession
4. Promoting Indigenous midwifery globally
5. Building NACM’s strength and sustainability as a Council
NACM members include both Registered Midwives who identify as Indigenous and Aboriginal Midwives practicing under certain exemption clauses of provincial health legislation.
Inuit midwives have led the way in the restoration of Indigenous midwifery. Since 1986, Inuit midwives have been the on‑call, primary care providers for maternity care for women along the Hudson Bay coast through the Inuulitsivik Health Center in Nunavik, Quebec.
Inuit midwives have led the way in the restoration of Indigenous midwifery. Since 1986, Inuit midwives have been the on‑call, primary care providers for maternity care for women along the Hudson Bay coast through the Inuulitsivik Health Center in Nunavik, Quebec.
Elder midwives Sharon Smoke and Brenda Epoo at 2012 Gathering in Newfoundland
Elder midwives Sharon Smoke and Brenda Epoo at 2012 Gathering in Newfoundland
NACM Core Leader Cheryllee Bourgeois delivers an Oral Statement on Indigenous Midwifery to the 17th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum in April 2018.
NACM Core Leader Cheryllee Bourgeois delivers an Oral Statement on Indigenous Midwifery to the 17th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum in April 2018.
Inter-cultural exchange between Aboriginal midwifery students and Mayan elders at a traditional medicine camp near Clearwater Lake, Manitoba
Inter-cultural exchange between Aboriginal midwifery students and Mayan elders at a traditional medicine camp near Clearwater Lake, Manitoba