Birthing in a settler state: the resurgence of Indigenous birth practices in "Canada"




Landsberg, Rivka

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Since colonial contact, settlers have been targeting the Indigenous female reproductive body. They attempted to severe the inherent connection between the Indigenous female body and the land through extreme resource extraction. This project investigates the impacts of colonization on Indigenous birthing practices and the current Indigenous birth resurgence happening within the colonial confines of Canada. In this context Indigenous birth resurgence is defined as the honouring and reclaiming of Indigenous teachings that support sovereignty over the Indigenous female body. This investigation is presented through semi-structured interviews with seven Indigenous birthworkers residing and practicing on Ktunaxa and Sinixt land. Three key themes were observed throughout these interviews the first being that each birthworker had a very hard time finding any traditional teachings surrounding birth from their communities due to colonization displacing this vital information, secondly all of the birthworkers had to go through Western Eurocentric education in order to be granted “qualifications” to practice birthwork, and finally each of the birthworkers stated that if Indigenous birth resurgence is fully realized it would have a profoundly positive effect on Indigenous families and Indigenous health in general.. The interviews and key findings are further investigated through a podcast entitled Reclaiming Birth in a Settler State



Indigenous Resurgence, Body Sovereignty, Indigenous Nationhood, Birth Practices