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Canada

Karen Lawford, PhD, RM, AM

  • Speaker Type: GOLD Midwifery 2021
  • Country: Canada
Biography:

Dr. Karen Lawford (Ph.D., R.M., A.M.) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender Studies at Queen’s University and an Adjunct Research Professor in the School of Indigenous and Canadian Studies at Carleton University. She is a member of Lac Seul First Nation

She is the first registered midwife and Indigenous midwife in Canada to obtain a doctoral degree and hold a university appointment. She advocates for maternity care that allows community members to give birth in their communities and on the land, and has explored the resiliency and resistance of women evacuated from their communities for birth. She also conducts research that examines the leadership of Indigenous women and Two Spirit people within health. She is a founding member of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives.

Dr. Lawford is a 2020 Indspire Laureate in the category of Health. She also serves as a Senator for Queen’s University.

CE Library Presentation(s) Available Online:
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Note: Currently only available through a bundled series of lectures
Indigenous Midwifery in Canada: A Primer for Improving Health and Well-Being
Since the formation of Canada in 1867, the Canadian government has systematically imposed a Euro-Western biomedical model of maternity care on Indigenous peoples. Colonialism and white supremacy rationalized the development of the Indian Residential School system with Christian organizations in attempts to “kill the Indian in the child.” Government goals were to civilize and assimilate Indigenous Peoples into a generic Canadian identity for the sake of nation building and colonial expansion. Eugenic ideologies underpinned the reduction of Indigenous populations through the forced, coercive, and covert sterilization of Indigenous women and girls. In Canada, two provinces had a Sexual Sterilization Act (Alberta and British Columbia), although it was practiced throughout the country. In the area of maternity care, Canadian healthcare systems have consistently failed Indigenous people and their children as evidenced by having highest IMR in Canada. Despite this, Indigenous midwifery and improved child and maternal health for Indigenous people, families, and communities can be realized. A return of birth to the land, recognition of Indigenous women’s and Two Spirit leadership in the provision of excellent culturally-informed, anti-colonial maternity care will contribute to the improved health and wellbeing of Indigenous Peoples.
Hours / CE Credits: 1 (details)  |  Categories: