How Indigenous women are taking back the birthing process: ‘There is a reclaiming happening’

After years of practicing as a nurse and midwife, Nicolle Gonzales (Navajo) began thinking about the traditional Indigenous birth practices that she wasn’t seeing reflected in hospital births.

At Standing Rock in 2016, she and other midwives began discussing the relationship between reproductive justice and the land — and their shared desire to reclaim birth work. …

Birthing traditions look a little different in every Native community — where a Navajo mom might want to deliver in a hogan, another mom might be more interested in giving her newborn a cedar bath. What matters is building “a system that honors all of that,” Farrell said, and part of that is training Indigenous birth workers so they’re able to serve their own communities. Native Americans make up only 1 percent of nurse-midwives and 0.5 percent of certified professional midwives, Gonzales says.

By Cecilia Nowell, The Lily

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