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Accepted Paper:

Settling temporarily - Wemindji Cree women's experiences in evacuation for births  
Ieva Paberzyte (McGill University)

Paper short abstract:

There's an evacuation policy in place for expectant women in remote communities in Canada prior their due dates. The paper is looking into experiences of Indigenous Wemindji Cree women in southern boarding homes while waiting for births.

Paper long abstract:

I will present preliminary results of my ethnographic study on Wemindji Cree childbirth concentrating on the experiences of expectant Cree women in southern boarding homes while waiting for births.

Since time immemorial, Cree children were born in the bush, surrounded by family and community. Colonization and eventually medicalization of Cree life resulted in the policy (~1980) of evacuating all expectant Cree women to southern hospitals to birth. The waiting times in boarding homes can vary from a few days to a few months, depending on pregnancy's biomedical risk factors and the due dates.

How do women make temporary homes away from home? What arrangements do they make for the evacuation period? How do they organize their space and time while temporarily settled? How do they cope with uncertain waiting periods, separation from their family and community?

I argue that elements of Cree knowledge and practices of birth in the bush persist and evolve in a new environment and help women go through their final stages of pregnancy away from home.

Panel P071
Reproductive aspirations and trajectories within movement/settlement across borders
  Session 1 Friday 17 August, 2018, -