Learning Midwifery in Nunavik: Community-based Education for Inuit Midwives


This article describes the Inuulitsivik Midwifery Education Program: Inuulitsiviup Nutarataatitsijingita Ilisarningata Aulagusinga (INIA). The program is recognized within Canada and globally as a model for local Indigenous midwifery education that supports the return of birth to small, remote communities. The program began at the Inuulitsivik Health Centre in 1986 through community activism which advocated for an end to the evacuation of all women for birth and the reclamation of Inuit midwifery knowledge and skills. Students are employed in local birth centres, called Maternities, and learn while working with midwifery mentors as part of an interdisciplinary team. Graduates are licensed by the governing body of midwifery in Quebec. Based on Inuit ways of knowing, learning, and teaching, as well as global standards in midwifery, the curriculum is competency based and consistent with Canadian university-based education programs. The return of birth and midwifery to Inuit land and culture has resulted in excellent outcomes, and is highly valued by the communities.

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