Truth, respect and recognition: addressing barriers to Indigenous maternity care – CMAJ

Janet Smylie MD MPH, Wanda Phillips-Beck RN MSc

For those of us living and working in First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, the finding of the linked research by Wall-Wieler and colleagues,1 that mothers with a history of child apprehension are less likely to receive adequate prenatal

care in subsequent pregnancies, comes as no surprise.

To get to solutions, we must first honestly describe the prob-lem. Most children in care in Manitoba are First Nations; why this is so and why their parents may be reluctant to access health ser-vices, go far beyond what is considered in the linked research.1 A strong argument can be made that there is historic continuity between the original “civilizing mission” of European colonizers, used to justify the abduction of Indigenous children from their families, and current overrepresentation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis in the child welfare system.2 Indigenous peoples have been stereotyped as “bad parents” since Europeans first arrived in the Americas. Bad parents emerged as one of the top

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