The New York Times and the World Health Organization write about Indigenous midwifery

The New York Times and the World Health Organization write about Indigenous midwifery

March 4, 2020

In January 2020, Indigenous midwifery featured in articles in the New York Times and in the World Health Organization newsroom.

“Canada’s government once pressured Inuit women to travel south to give birth. Now, they can have their babies at a hometown maternity clinic led by Inuit midwives.”

Photographs by y Amber Bracken and 

This article features two of NACM’s Core Leaders, Brenda Epoo and Margaret Mina.

Read the full article today >>

Bringing midwifery back to a northern Canadian community – Jan 31, 2020

“Heather Heinrichs is a midwife working in remote Hay River in Canada’s Northwest Territories – a sub‑arctic town of 3,500 nestled on the south bank of Great Slave Lake. Until five years ago, women from Hay River who wanted to give birth had to fly or drive around the huge expanse of lake to deliver in Yellowknife, the Territorial capital, or travel hundreds of kilometres south to larger centres.”

Text and photos © WHO/Christine McNab

This article features NACM member Heather Heinrichs.

Read the full article today >>

NACM affirms our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation!

NACM Solidarity Statement with the Wet’suwet’en Nation

February 24, 2020

The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) affirms our solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

NACM exists to promote excellence in reproductive health care for Inuit, First Nations and Métis people. As Indigenous midwives we are protectors of our peoples’ first environments, the waters of the womb. We know that respect for Life‑Givers and the Earth are intimately linked. As the source of all life, the Land gives us everything we need to thrive, and teaches us everything we need to live well including the bond of love and kindness that exists between relatives. Our responsibility to care for each other and the Land, to defend our traditional territories and the waters comes from these original instructions and our natural laws. As midwives we are bound by our cultural teachings, and our Nations’ agreements, to care for, protect and advocate for all our human and non‑human relations.


We offer deep gratitude to the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs as well as the land and water protectors for their courage and commitment to defending not only the lands and waters of the Wet’suwet’en, but also standing against cultural erasure and corporate bullying for us all. Climate change is real, and no person, Indigenous or not, can survive eating money alone.


We condemn the violent invasion of Wet’suwet’en lands by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, supported by the British Columbia and Canadian governments. Forcibly removing peaceful land defenders from their traditional unceded lands is in violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As Indigenous midwives, responsible for the sexual and reproductive care of the communities we live in, we know that violence on our lands and violence on our women, girls and gender-diverse people are inextricably connected.  What we do to the land and water affects our women, girls and gender-diverse people as well as the generations not yet born. We know that extraction from our natural resources is also linked to the unacceptable numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls through nearby man-camps that are occupied by men who do not respect Indigenous women. Our lands and environments are critical to the health and well-being of our people, families, communities and Nations. There will be no reproductive justice for Indigenous people without environmental justice.


We call on the governments of British Columbia and Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Coastal Gaslink pipeline to respect the position taken by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. We stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en peoples and demand that the government of British Columbia and Canada uphold their responsibilities laid out in the Supreme Court Delgamuukw‑Gisday’wa decision of 1997. We demand the recognition of the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island. We stand as witnesses at this historic moment when our governments will make a choice to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples or continue the ongoing legacy of colonization.


All our Relations

Claire Dion Fletcher, Indigenous (Lenape‑Potawatomi) Registered Midwife

Carol Couchie, Registered Midwife, Nishnawbe Kwe Nipissing First

Co-Chairs of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives


Nathalie Pambrun, Métis Midwife, NACM Core Leader, President of the Canadian Association of Midwives

Naomi Wolfe Receives Iewirokwas Cape Award for Midwives

Naomi Wolfe Receives Iewirokwas Cape Award for Midwives

February 7, 2020

Naomi Wolfe was chosen from over 800 midwives in Ontario to receive the 2020 Iewirokwas Cape Award for Midwives.


Iewirokwas Cape Award for Midwives honours those midwifery heroes who work quietly within our many and diverse urban, rural, and remote communities across the province and who do so with ‘honour, equity, humility, justice and inclusion’.


It is given annually to two exceptional Ontario midwives, spotlighting their unique contributions to midwifery and to their communities. ​By nurturing families with humility, with ceremony and with wide and compelling expertise, Naomi honours her broader community: the very ideal of the cape awards in action.

Please join us in honouring Naomi Wolfe

When: February 21st, 2020 @ 7pm

Where: Toronto Birth Centre
525 Dundas Street East, 2nd Floor, Toronto, M5A 2B6

No RSVP required.

This is a scent free event.

NACM Founding Member Dr. Karen Lawford Receives Indspire Award 2020

NACM Founding Member Dr. Karen Lawford Receives Indspire Award 2020

February 7, 2020

“I became a midwife to provide the gold standard of maternity care to First Nations families who live on reserves.”
– Dr. Karen Lawford, Lac Seul First Nation, ON


Dr. Karen Lawford (Ph.D., R.M., A.M.) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Queen’s University and an Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University.


She is the first registered midwife and Indigenous midwife in Canada to obtain a doctoral degree and hold a university appointment. She advocates for maternity care that allows community members to give birth in their communities and on the land, and has explored the resiliency and resistance of women evacuated from their communities for birth. She is a founding member of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives.

Dr. Lawford mentors undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students. Her growing recognition nationally and internationally as an expert in her field recently led her to be named Co-Chair of the 2019 conference for the International Health Workforce Collaborative. Dr. Lawford continues to work with Indigenous midwives in Canada, the USA, and New Zealand, with plans for forming relationships in Australia.


Representing the highest honour the Indigenous community bestows upon its own achievers, the Indspire Awards were created in 1993, in conjunction with the United Nation’s International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The Awards recognize Indigenous professionals and youth who demonstrate outstanding career achievement. They promote self-esteem and pride for Indigenous communities and provide outstanding role models for Indigenous youth.


Dr. Lawford is the Indspire Award Health Laureate of 2020.

Guided by our Ancestors: Indigenous Midwives and Advocacy

Guided by Our Ancestors: Indigenous Midwives and Advocacy

December 18, 2019

NACM is pleased to announce the launch of our final publication of 2019.

Guided by our Ancestors: Indigenous Midwives and Advocacy is a booklet that explores the role of Indigenous midwives in reproductive justice, rights, recognition and restoration.

Read this publication online or purchase hard copies today.

This is a great accompaniment to our recently produced Diverse Pathways: Bringing Indigenous Midwifery home, which aims to share some examples of the multiple pathways Indigenous midwives have taken to return midwifery to our communities. Diverse Pathways is also available to view online or purchase.

To see all of NACM’s resources, visit our Publications page >>>

Diverse Pathways: Bringing Indigenous midwifery home

Diverse Pathways: Bringing Indigenous midwifery home

November 13, 2019

More and more communities are seeking to reclaim the power of Indigenous midwifery.

In October 2019, NACM launched Diverse Pathways: Bringing Indigenous midwifery home, a booklet that aims to share some examples of the multiple pathways Indigenous midwives have taken to return midwifery to our communities.

Funding models, distance to emergency services, opportunities to collaborate with existing health care teams, housing, birth numbers and regulatory policies all have an impact on the planning, establishment and sustainability of midwifery practices. Our objective in this booklet is to provide examples to communities wishing to bring back Indigenous-led midwifery services.

Read this publication online or purchase hard copies today.

Lighting the Eastern Fire: Growing Indigenous Midwifery in the Atlantic Region

Lighting the Eastern Fire: Growing Indigenous Midwifery in the Atlantic Region

Join us October 23 from 1:30‑4pm
Westin Nova Scotian, Halifax / Kjipuktuk

This session is being organized by NACM specifically for communities in the Atlantic Region. It will include a sharing circle with members of NACM, followed by teachings and discussion of broader themes in the work of bringing midwifery back to the Region. More information available here >>>

1 2 3 4
Share This