Decolonising Motherhood


  • Miranda Leibel University of Alberta


This research intends to present an overview of contemporary perinatal health practices among the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. Using recent case studies of midwifery in two communities, Rankin Inlet and Nunavik, the study presents the perceived successes and shortcomings of community based midwifery programs, as well as reflecting on Canadian government intervention in Inuit family structure. The paper also argues for a restructuring of knowledge paradigms in Canada, especially as they pertain to practices such as birthing and maternal care, which is reflected in the relationship between western scientific medicine, and culturally significant Inuit practices. Rather than denying the importance of western medicine for Inuit perinatal health, this research argues for a balance between varying knowledges. At its heart, this issue is part of the decolonisation process, which requires that Indigenous women’s bodies are not used as a place of reproduction for colonial norms and assumptions.

Author Biography

Miranda Leibel, University of Alberta

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Political Science, 3rd year, University of Alberta.