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Review Article

Role of the nurse in returning birth to the North

Submitted: 15 April 2014
Revised: 9 August 2014
Accepted: 23 August 2014
Published: 25 February 2015

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Author(s) : Wright AL.

Amy Wright

Citation: Wright AL.  Role of the nurse in returning birth to the North. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2015; 15: 3109. Available: (Accessed 17 October 2017)


With the colonization of the Americas came the eventual stigmatization of Aboriginal women and their traditional birthing methods. Gradual introduction of Western ideology and medicine led to government pressure to medicalize birth. Women were eventually flown to southern hospitals with immediate medical and surgical services available to ensure ‘safer’ deliveries and thereby improve serious maternal and infant morbidity and mortality statistics that were becoming too obvious to ignore. This process led to devastating consequences for women and families, which are still being felt today. The history of colonization of birth for Aboriginal families is discussed, with current strategies to alleviate this suffering in the north. Proposals for change from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC) are discussed. The role of the nurse is described, including being culturally competent, fostering an environment of respect, dispelling myths and stereotypes, ensuring research involving Aboriginal peoples is done ethically, and promoting pursuing a career in health care.

Key words: Aboriginal, birth, colonization, evacuation, infants, mothers, northern Canada, role of the nurse.

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