The Métis Nation of Ontario Credit River Métis Council
hosted a Midwifery and Healing Medicine workshop on
March 28 in Brampton. Click here to view a larger version
of this picture.

Submitted by MNO Credit River Métis Council President Karen Derocher

On March 28, Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters attended a Midwifery and Healing Medicine workshop in Brampton.

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Credit River Métis Council (CRMC) hosted the event with the Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network at the MNO office.

During this introductory workshop, attendees took the time to remember traditions, explore modern midwifery practice, learn about the safe use of herbal medicines and discuss paths to connect with or train as a midwife.

The historic role of helpers/midwives during childbearing was common in most Indigenous communities until hospitals and modern medicine began to take over the role. However, there has been a recent resurgence of midwifery for expectant mothers in Ontario and across Turtle Island.

Darlene Lent, MNO CRMC Women’s Representative, facilitated the gathering and opened it with a warm welcome, a prayer and smudge ceremony.

Guests introduced themselves and shared their memories and experiences of midwifery, home births and hospital births. Sharing their stories was an emotional reflection of excitement, joy and also some tears and sadness about their experiences. A few men also attended and their memories brought unique insight about either being included or excluded in birthing practices. They spoke of how this affected family bonding.

Natalie Lucas presented background on midwifery and philosophy of midwifery care and then showed a documentary. She spoke about training, emergency skills and the differences between Indigenous midwifery and main-stream midwifery. She is a Métis student midwife, entering her fourth and final year of the midwifery program at Ryerson University, and is also working with the Six Nations Midwifery program.

Stefania Ruffalo, an Herbal Medicines Knowledge Keeper, explained the difference between traditional medicine versus herbal medicine. She spoke about the safe use of some herbal medicines, and food as medicine, during pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Participants in the event included Lucas’ mentor, Melodie Smith from Six Nations Midwifery program. MNO Clear Waters Métis Council Women’s Representative Tobias Clarke and Mississauga Halton Local Health Integration Network partner Elizabeth Molinaro attended as guests.

The workshop provided a great opportunity for a local service provider partner and neighbouring Métis council to build community relationships.

Posted: May 28, 2018