In Birth on the Land, Elders and traditional midwives from ten Nunavut communities share memories of traditional birth.They share how they sometimes laboured and birthed quietly and alone, while other
In Birth on the Land, Elders and traditional midwives from ten Nunavut communities share memories of traditional birth.
They share how they sometimes laboured and birthed quietly and alone, while other times they were surrounded by the love and support of their family or community. They describe, and even demonstrate, what they did to facilitate an easy birth and give newborns the best possible start in life.
The Elders and traditional midwives also share memories about the transition from giving birth in igluit or tents to having to do so in the company of strangers in institutions introduced by southern colonizers. They remember a time when pregnancy, birth, and death were accepted
as a part of life, and when Elders, rather than southern caregivers, were the sources of wisdom and authority.
Birth on the Land reintroduces contemporary readers to the time-honoured midwifery practices that were used in Nunavut for generations, and provides invaluable insight for caregivers in contemporary Nunavut about caring for pregnant women and giving birth the "Inuit way."
View Biographical note
Beverley O'Brien is a professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta.