Informed Choice with a Focus on Rural and Northern Midwifery in the Northwest Terrritories
Gisela Becker, RM Lesley Paulette, RM
EVENTS LEADING TO THE PRESENT MATERNITY CARE SITUATION
Traditionally, the women of what is now called the Northwest Territories (NWT) gave birth as they lived, on the land. Babies were born in tents, igloos and cabins in locations that were determined by the seasonal rhythms of a lifestyle intimately connected to the harvesting of natural resources. Women and babies were cared for by family members and by women who were recognized for their special gifts as midwives. To assist at births was to do the Creator's work. Knowledge and skills were passed down within families from mothers to daughters. The risks associated with childbirth were not ignored but were managed in the same way as all the other risks associated with living, through the application of traditional knowledge and cultural practices that had evolved over time to help ensure the survival of the people.