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The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) is disappointed and dismayed to receive news of federal funding cuts to various Indigenous health organizations

For Immediate Release

The National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) is disappointed and dismayed to receive news of federal funding cuts to various Indigenous health organizations. Specifically, funding has been cut that will lead to the closing of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO), and the elimination of health programming at Pauktuutit, Inuit Women of Canada, and at Native Women’s Association of Canada. Together, these organizations have played a vital role as leaders in Aboriginal health research and community-based health initiatives. Without their collective work, the task to better address health disparities faced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis is made much more difficult.At present, in Canada, Aboriginal people have the poorest maternal and infant health outcomes, and NACM believes that increased research, community-based initiatives and associated resources must be allocated to rectify this situation. Despite the recent cuts to funding, NACM is hopeful that the federal government will continue to support nationally coordinated Aboriginal health organizations and their efforts to address these disparities. This important work must continue and be supported meaningfully and adequately to ensure its success.

In particular, NAHO and Pauktuutit have both devoted considerable resources towards improving health outcomes for First Nations, Inuit and Métis mothers and babies in Canada. Their work that promotes the role of midwives as central to the health of our Aboriginal communities has been of great value to our organization. Their diverse research and documentation of Aboriginal midwifery has contributed to increased awareness and leadership regarding policy and program development.

We urge the Federal government to rethink these changes in funding for organizations doing important work for the health of Aboriginal women and babies. We offer our support to house any midwifery-related materials currently housed on the NAHO website, in order to ensure communities have continued access to this important information in an accessible, online format that respects this indigenous and cultural knowledge, and helps to empower communities to make informed decisions about birth. We hope that the Federal government will support the health of Aboriginal women and babies through recommitting resources to research, prevention and community-based health initiatives that provide necessary services and information for all Aboriginal communities in Canada.

Endorsed by the Canadian Association of Midwives