Decolonizing Inuit Midwifery - Naja Dyrendom Graugaard
2:30 PM, Friday 4 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Sherbrooke Pavilion (SH) - SH-3220
In this presentation, I will discuss some of the relations between Inuit practices of midwifery and processes of decolonization in the Arctic. The presentation sheds light on ways in which transformations of Indigenous birthing traditions have been part of colonizing agendas and colonial mechanisms. By the example of the development of hospitalization of childbirth in Greenland, I seek to examine the particular relations between Indigenous practices, western health care systems, and colonization. As is currently being discussed in feminist scholarship, extensive medicalization of child birth (and pre- and post-natal care) are often associated with processes of women disempowerment. By relating these arguments to Indigenous feminist scholarship, the paper seeks to explore the ways in which decolonization in Inuit communities ‘begins in the womb’ (2012), as is suggested by Mississauga Nishnaabeg scholar, Leanne Simpson. In the light of the worldwide movements to decolonizing birth in Indigenous communities, the paper aims to meditate on the (possible) role of birth in current processes of decolonization in the Arctic.