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Demeter Press is Honoured to Announce the Upcoming Release of Indigenous Experiences of Pregnancy and Birth

Demeter Press is Honoured to Announce the Upcoming Release of Indigenous Experiences of Pregnancy and Birth

Save 40% off using coupon code MOTHERS until October 26, 2017!

Demeter Press is honoured to announce the upcoming release of Indigenous Experiences of Pregnancy and Birth, Edited by Hannah Tait Neufeld and Jaime Cidro (October 2017).

Traditional midwifery, culture, customs, understandings, and meanings surrounding pregnancy and birth are grounded in distinct epistemologies and worldviews that have sustained Indigenous women and their families since time immemorial. Years of colonization, however, have impacted the degree to which women have choice in the place and ways they carry and deliver their babies. As nations such as Canada became colonized, traditional gender roles were seen as an impediment. The forced rearrangement of these gender roles was highly disruptive to family structures. Indigenous women quickly lost their social and legal status as being dependent on fathers and then husbands. The traditional structures of communities became replaced with colonially informed governance, which reinforced patriarchy and paternalism. The authors in this book carefully consider these historic interactions and their impacts on Indigenous women’s experiences. As the first section of the book describes, pregnancy is a time when women reflect on their bodies as a space for the development of life. Foods prepared and consumed, ceremony and other activities engaged in are no longer a focus solely for the mother, but also for the child she is carrying. Authors from a variety of places and perspectives thoughtfully express the historical along with contemporary forces positively and negatively impacting prenatal behaviours and traditional practices. Place and culture in relation to birth are explored in the second half of the book from locations in Canada such as Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Aotearoa. The reclaiming and revitalization of birthing practices along with rejuvenating forms of traditional knowledge form the foundation for exploration into these experiences from a political perspective. It is an important part of decolonization to acknowledge policies such as birth evacuation as being grounded in systemic racism. The act of returning birth to communities and revitalizing Indigenous prenatal practices are affirmation of sustained resilience and strength, instead of a one-sided process of reconciliation.

This book makes a compelling contribution to the field of Indigenous and maternal studies. The editors have put together a powerful collection that honours the spirit of pregnancy and birth, and the strength and resilience of Indigenous women and families. By acknowledging the ceremony of birth in relation to contemporary Indigenous issues, such as forced evacuation and water protection, the editors contextualize the layers of meaning embedded in returning birth to Indigenous communities. This book serves as an expression of the creative acts of resistance that have always defined Indigenous motherhood.
-JENNIFER BRANT, Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba, co-editor of Forever Loved: Exposing the Hidden Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada



Kim Anderson

Jaime Cidro and Hannah Tait Neufeld


Chapter One
Indigenous Pregnancy, Birthing, and
Mothering in Colonial Canada
Sana Z. Shahram

Chapter Two
“It’s in Her Health”: Historical Retrospective of
Generational Changes in Maternal Diets
from Peguis, First Nation
Hannah Tait Neufeld

Chapter Three
Culture, Identity, and Spirituality in American Indians and
Native People of Alaska Pregnancy Campaigns
Terry L. Rentner, Dinah A. Tetteh, and Lynda Dixon


Chapter Four
Bored, Broke, and Alone:
Experiences of Pregnant and Expectant
First Nations Mothers Birthing in and out of the Community
Jaime Cidro, Elisabeth Dolin, and Christina Queskekapow

Chapter Five
Bearing Witness:
Rural Indigenous Women’s Experiences of Childbirth
in an Urban Hospital
Rachel Olson

Chapter Six
Honouring Our Ancestors:
Reclaiming the Power of Māori Maternities
Naomi Simmonds

Chapter Seven
Revitalizing Traditional Indigenous Birth Knowledge
Rebeka Tabobondung

Chapter Eight
Birth Places, Embodied Spaces:
Tlicho Pregnancy Stories across the Generations
Leslie Dawson

Chapter Nine
Maternal Identity in Family and Community:
Mothers of the Stó:lō First Nation
Margaret MacDonald

Chapter Ten
Indigenous Birth in Canada:
Reconciliation and Reproductive Justice in the Settler State
Erika Finestone and Cynthia Stirbys

About the Contributors

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