The Onkwehonwe Midwives Collective is a Maternal, Child and Women’s Wellness Centre located on Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island), on Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. The Onkwehonwe Midwives Collective officially opened its clinic doors in April 2017 with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Since then, OMC has provided a balance of traditional and contemporary Midwifery services and cultural programs, as well began training a new generation of midwives with the Onkwehon:we Midwifery Training Program, the first of its kind in Akwesasne. Committed to providing the best experience possible, the Onkwehon:we Midwives Collective is focused on giving one multiple options as to best suit their own personal needs and wishes.
As Onkwehon:we Midwives, we want to reclaim birth as a ceremony for our people. We walk side-by-side with the mother throughout pregnancy; honoring our role as guardians of our future generations. We want to provide assistance to expectant Indigenous families with reclamation of their birth, continued education and support throughout the phases of life. We will revitalize our culture and strengthen our sovereignty through our modern Onkwehon:we midwifery model by sharing Indigenous knowledge to promote the safety and well-being or our babies and families.
What is an Indigenous (Onkwehon:we) Midwife?
This title is a legally recognized title for a legitimate health care professional is used for Indigenous Midwives who are practicing within the non-registered model for reasons of sovereignty and self-identity. The Indigenous Midwife is accountable to their community in a formal manner that allows the community to ensure all practitioners are safe, fully qualified, authorized and continue to update their skills and knowledge. Midwives provide care specific to the childbearing year, including the prenatal, labor, birth and postpartum periods. Midwives provide information, support, and guidance for the many decisions and changes that the childbearing year brings. The Midwifery Model of Care is based on a continuity of care, informed decision making, choice of birth place, collaboration and working as autonomous care providers.
Who We Serve:
The Onkwehonwe Midwives Collective serves Indigenous mothers and Indigenous families, mostly directly in our home community of Akwesasne. OMC provides care to healthy low-risk women and their families throughout pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period and beyond. Our commitment to care throughout the lifespan provides a multitude of services for our clients, which can be found here.
One or both of the parents must be of Indigenous ancestry and be able to provide supporting evidence, such as:
- Band membership
- Tribal Membership
- Nation Council of Chiefs Membership
- Genealogical Family Tree
- Or other documentation supporting Indigenous Identity
- TRUST – Onkwehon:we Midwives are responsible for upholding values by carrying strong relationships with the mothers, families and community.
- RESPECT – Onkwehon:we Midwives respect birth as a healthy physiological process, which honors each birth as a spiritual journey.
- COMPASSION – Onkwehon:we Midwives acts as guides and compassionate caregivers, maintaining the dignity of Indigenous women by offering kind, considerate and respectful services.
- OPEN-MINDEDNESS – Onkwehon:we Midwives will provide various resources and support to reflect the expectant mothers’ birth plans, respecting diversity of religion and spirituality to enhance their birth experience.
- CONFIDENTIALITY – Onkwehon:we Midwives maintain the highest standard in confidentiality for the expectant mother and their family.
- FLEXIBILITY – Onkwehon:we Midwives have the ability to learn and adjust to reflect the changing landscape in the midwifery field.
- PRO-ACTIVITY – Onkwehon:we Midwives work hard to ensure proactive measures are taken to improve our services.
- SUPPORT – Onkwehon:we Midwives support Indigenous women’s inherent right to choose their caregivers and be active decision makers in their health care.
- HEALING – Onkwehon:we Midwives draw from a rich tradition of language, Indigenous knowledge and cultural practice as they work with women to restore health to Indigenous families and communities.
- EDUCATION – The Onkwehon:we Midwives’ education and practice respects diverse ways of knowing and learning, and is responsive to Indigenous women, families and communities and is accessible to all who choose this pathway.