Speaker: Karline Wilson-Mitchell
Facilitator: Niessa Meier
This project documents and analyzes the history of racialized midwives in Canada and their roles in the communities they served. Midwives of colour in Canadian settlement communities of the 19th-20th century are not represented in historical records. Many of these midwives were enslaved African refugees and indentured worker immigrants, and our goal is to trace and examine their histories. Our Pilot Study focused on Black midwives in Ontario and Nova Scotia between 1800-1970 where we looked at the many factors that contributed to the erasure of Black midwives, such as defacto segregation. Preliminary findings revealed issues of belonging and legitimacy as it relates to Black midwives’ credentials and access to health resources for their communities. This is significant in juxtaposition with reports by Black immigrants of their dissatisfaction with the child-bearing experience. Although only in the beginning stages, this project outlines the importance of uncovering a notable piece of history.