The Alaska Native Birthworkers Community (ANBC) contracted with Melissa Brown (Anishinaabe-Dine midwife) and Candace Neumann (Indigenous doula) of Zaagi’idiwin to offer a virtual Full Spectrum Indigenous doula training for current and aspiring Alaska Native/Indigenous birthworkers. The training occurred May 24-27, 2021, from 9am – 4pm each day. The four-day course touched on seven parts including but not limited to: History of Birth for Indigenous Women, Reproductive Justice, Grief & Loss, Pregnancy, Traditional Teaching Tools, Labor & Birth, Postpartum and Caring for the Caregiver.
Melissa, Candace and a number of other Indigenous birthworkers offered online instruction from Winnipeg, Manitoba and other provinces throughout Canada, while 27 participants joined online from other parts of Alaska or in person at the Athabascan Ceremonial House on the Alaska Native Heritage Center campus in Anchorage. We also had sharing about local plants and storytelling from a Nome area Elder and Traditional Healer.
The ANBC has provided volunteer community doula services to members of our Native community for the last three years, and our goal in hosting this training was to grow the number and capacity of Indigenous doulas to serve Native Birthing families statewide. ANBC offered this training free of personal financial cost to participants due to the generous contributions of organizations such as The CIRI Foundation who funded the training. Registered participants agreed to “pay it forward” by volunteering to serve at least one Alaska Native / Indigenous birthing family in their community within a year of completing the training.
Enaa baasee’ to TCF for supporting these educational and healing opportunities for Native peoples!