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Inside the push to end ‘birth evacuations’ in Indigenous communities – Global News

September 29, 2023

A fire was lit in the healing lodge in Sturgeon Lake First Nation, Sask., while Ashley Rabbitskin prepared to welcome her baby boy into the world. A smudging ceremony purified the space and her family, along with a team of midwives, helped guide her through her labour using traditional medicines.

As the baby began to crown, both the midwives and Ashley’s family began singing, celebrating his arrival into the world.

Ashley’s son, Kaleo, was born on Feb. 22, 2022, marking the first traditional birth in the community in over 50 years.

“It was done naturally and it was not rushed, it was done peacefully in such a loving manner,” said Ashley’s mother, Norma Rabbitskin, who is also a senior health nurse manager at Sturgeon Lake Health Centre.

“When he was placed on in Ashley’s chest, it was really powerful because it was seeing the connection,” she told Global News. “It was full circle to witness; I myself was born in my home community, so to see that it was very special to me.”

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