Chief David Monias of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation assisted with an unplanned home birth in his home community earlier today, reads a statement from Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO).
“This morning Chief Monias received a phone call to attend an emergency. He was told there was someone giving birth in a washroom. He rushed to get ready and head over to the home where the birth was about to take place,” said MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee.
While he receives many calls for help as a chief, said Monias, often to “support families when people are preparing to make their journey onto the spirit world”, this was the first time he’d been called to assist with a birth. Mother and the baby, born at 10:21 a.m., were healthy, the release announced.
“This was the best call I have ever received in my role as chief and I thank the family for reaching out to me in their time of need.”
Monias made calls to ambulances and the nursing station.
“His hands-on assistance was not needed at the birth as a grandmother was on hand to catch the baby as it made its entrance into the world,” said Settee.
“As a former chief, I know that it’s a role where you are expected to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Settee. “The pandemic has amplified the demand that is put upon our chiefs and I commend all of them for the hard work they have done in responding to the challenges brought upon our communities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Women in MKO First Nations do not currently have access to home births and are required to leave their home communities to give birth, reads the statement.
While this story has a healthy outcome for the baby and the mother, this is a good reminder that First Nations in Northern Manitoba do not have the same access to birthing facilities or home births as women living in urban communities, the release continues.