Indigenous midwives honoured at 2019 Cape Awards

TORONTO — Two indigenous midwives were honoured at a ceremony in Toronto this week for their service at the 2019 Iewirokwas Cape Award for Midwifery Heroes.

Laurie Jacobs, an indigenous midwife with Six Nations Tsinonwe Ionnakeratstha Ona:grahsta Birthing Centre was acknowledged for her years of service helping indigenous parents welcome their children into the community.

Jacobs, a member of the Tuscarora Bear Clan trained as an aboriginal midwife in 2001 and was part of a grassroots movement to bring midwifery back to indigenous communities.

Rachel Dennis Couchie, a member of Nipissing First Nation, also received the 2019 Iewirokwas Cape Award.

Couchie is a graduate of the Ryerson University Midwifery program and trained with the Seventh Generation Midwives in Toronto before assisting establishing the K’Tigaaning Midwives in Powassan and Nipissing.

According to the The Cape Award website, the yearly distinction “honours midwifery heroes who work quietly within our many and diverse urban, rural, and remote communities across Ontario and who do so with ‘honour, equity, humility, justice and inclusion’.”

Two midwives are gifted each year with the distinction by their peers and given decorative capes designed to honour the Mohawk Nation.

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