Niagara Chapter – Native Women Inc. welcomes the Ministry directive to cease Birth Alerts in Ontario stated today by Deputy Minister Jill Dunlop.

July 14, 2020 For Immediate Release
by Wendy Sturgeon


Public Statement

July 14, 2020 (Niagara Region, ON) – The Niagara Chapter-Native Women Inc. welcomes the Ministry directive to cease Birth Alerts in Ontario stated today by Deputy Minister Jill Dunlop.

President of the Chapter, Bonnie Brant says ‘’’ It’s been unfair to have our Indigenous women ‘’’’Red Flagged’’’ by Children’s Aid Societies, when they’re giving birth. It’s such a sacred and intimate time. It’s like going through hell. We really need their kin to step up and help out. That’s how we always did it but now so many are disconnected from family through no fault of their own. It’s critical that Indigenous programs and services are there to help these families.’’’

Bonnie Brant further adds ‘’ ….and such services were created out of necessity i.e. pre & post-natal health care, counselling, midwifery, kinship, are all with native specific themes. Such programs help new mothers who may be overwhelmed by a system not prepared to consider the importance of cultural teachings.’’’ Wendy Sturgeon, (executive Director) agrees and says: ‘’this gives Indigenous women and families, the beginning of a fighting chance to begin to believe that we’ll be able to raise our
own children within our families …an absolute human right that has been interfered with for centuries.’’’

We are glad to see this sweep across Turtle Island, and it’s been a long time coming. So many Indigenous women lost their babies because of this…and because they grew up in foster care, children’s aids figured they wouldn’t know how to parent, what does that say about foster care? Rooting out racist policies and procedures is basic to human dignity and equality.

This finally gives our Indigenous women a glimmer of hope that there is some light at the end of this long tunnel of intergenerational trauma, enforced family disconnect and that we will be able to finally have support and care to help keep our families together. This is a move towards healing families, our communities and nations.

This public statement is a very powerful way for Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership to signal their support and commitment to the issue. It has taken a huge team of individuals to get this issue in the spotlight. We thank Dr. Chaya Kulkarni of Infant Mental Health Promotion, housed at Sick Kids Hospital, Toronto for her work within the Indigenous communities
gathering information on impacts of early infant trauma to the brain through immediate birth separations. We also acknowledge and thank Ms. Ellen Blais, Director of Indigenous Midwifery and Co-Chair of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives. We also honor and acknowledge our Indigenous partners who worked together to help bring this issue to light. The
Metis Nation of Ontario and the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centers.

We are asking that you share this Press Release with your family, friends and peers. That you reach out to support a family who has suffered from such a tragic loss.

We will continue to call for all levels of government to work with Indigenous women and representative organizations. Next steps will include ensuring that Indigenous Midwives have equitable hospital privileges all across Turtle Island.

We look forward to your continued involvement and participation.

The Niagara Chapter-Native Women Inc. is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women and their families, within First Nation, Métis, Inuit and Canadian societies. We believe in becoming involved in the activities that affect our daily lives.

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For additional information please contact:
Wendy Sturgeon
NCNW Executive Director
Tel.: 905 871 8770