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FNTI Applauds Ontario’s Added Investment to Expand Midwifery Services


Media Release                                                                                   July 16, 2019 


FNTI Applauds Ontario’s Added Investment to Expand Midwifery Services 


(Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ont.) -- The First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) welcomes last week’s news from Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, that Ontario will be investing an additional $28 million in provincial midwifery services. 


FNTI is particularly pleased with the commitment to increase access to culturally-safe midwifery care by expanding Indigenous midwifery programs. 


“This news couldn’t come at a better time,” said Dr. Umar Keoni Umangay, vice-president, academic. “FNTI is in the final stages of developing a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences in Indigenous Midwifery to support the health and well-being of Indigenous women, babies, families and communities so that more choices are available for Indigenous Peoples to give birth and receive care on their traditional lands.” 


The comprehensive standalone B.Sc. Indigenous Midwifery degree will be four years in length and will bring an Indigenous model of care to the forefront.  


The Indigenous worldview recognizes that Onkwehón:we midwives provide primary care during the prenatal period, labour, delivery and up to six weeks postpartum. Services include puberty teachings, sex education, pre-conception care, pregnancy, birthing, post-natal/post-partum care, traditional parenting, well-woman and well-baby care, and much more.  


Indigenous midwives practice under the exemption for Aboriginal midwives in the Midwifery Act, 1991, which is also defined in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991recognizing the right of Onkwehón:we midwives to practice autonomously with Indigenous women, babies, families and communities. In 2017, Indigenous midwives were granted access to similar funding streams as registered midwives with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. 


FNTI’s standalone degree is being developed with the support of Onkwehón:we  Midwives at Kenhtè:ke and the Six Nations Birthing Centre. The institute is also actively pursuing articulation agreement discussions with Ontario universities that offer registered midwifery programs in the hopes of being able to provide inter-institutional lateral educational pathway opportunities to learners. 


“Our program is already very much aligned to reflect this recent announcement that supports expanded Indigenous midwifery services,” said Umangay. “The added investment is absolutely critical in providing avenues for learners to become Onkwehón:we midwives.” 


The standalone Bachelor’s of Health Sciences in Indigenous Midwifery program will be sent to the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council for accreditation later this year. 


The First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI) is an Indigenous-owned and governed postsecondary institute founded in programming rooted in Indigegogy and Indigenous ways of knowing. FNTI is a registered charitable organization, accredited by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC,) and a member of Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).  FNTI has over 3,000 graduates