MM: Hello fellow midwives, my name is Melanie Mason and I recently graduated from the University of British Columbia Midwifery program. I identify as a Red River Metis woman who grew up in Anola, Manitoba, which is a small, rural community east of Winnipeg. After completing my undergrad at the University of Manitoba, I relocated to Victoria and began my journey of becoming a midwife. It was during this time that I found out that my great, great grandmother was an Indigenous midwife in northern Manitoba. I also found that my traditional culture was a strong driving force in my journey to becoming an Indigenous registered midwife.
EG: Graduating from midwifery school is a huge accomplishment!! What do you feel has been your greatest accomplishment during your time as a student?
MM: I feel my greatest accomplishment as a midwifery student has been to raise awareness in our program about Indigenous history in Canada, the current issues facing our Indigenous communities, and the need to foster a supportive culture for Indigenous midwifery students in our program. However, I share this accomplishment with the many other hard working Indigenous students and allies in our program.
Photo Credit: Carlie Sanford
EG: Aside from the usual post-student "get a solid night's rest" kinds of goals, what other hopes or dreams are you holding for yourself now? What do you see for yourself at a later season along your midwifery path?
MM: My immediate goal is to increase the provision of midwifery services to the Indigenous communities in and around Victoria. My understanding is that I will be the first self-identified Indigenous registered midwife working for and along side those communities.
My hopes and dreams align with the MABC Committee for Indigenous Birthing and the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives – to have an Indigenous midwife providing care in every Indigenous community in urban, rural and remote settings. Through my involvement with both of these important organizations, I have gained valuable insight and leadership experience that I hope to use going forward in pursuit of my goals and the dream of increasing the number of Indigenous midwives and creating a safe future for Indigenous birthing people, their families and communities.
EG: Is there a last message you would like to share with the membership for National Aboriginal Day?
MM: As midwives I know you all share the common passion of providing culturally safe care to your clients, families, and communities you serve. If you have not done so already, I would strongly recommend taking the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training produced by the Provincial Health Services Authority of BC. I found the training to be a vital part of my learning and preparation for providing culturally safe care to Indigenous clients. If you have already completed the San'yas training, I would recommend reading the "Calls to Action" and "Executive Summary" from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. As Senator Murray Sinclair has said "education is what got us here and education is what will get us out."