Oral or Poster Presentation
Concurrent Session 2D - Healthy Life Trajectories: Indigenous Health & Interprofessional Practice
Introduction: Despite being one of Canada’s three constitutionally recognized Indigenous peoples, Métis experiences are largely absent from health literature. This knowledge gap is particularly wide regarding maternal and perinatal health. Through a partnership with the Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) and academics, this project explores the experiences of Métis women in Alberta during pregnancy and childbirth, and how social determinants influence and shape these experiences.
Methods: This project incorporates Métis and Western ways of knowing, and prioritizes Métis self-determination in all stages of the research process. Six gatherings of Métis women were organized across Alberta using conversational methods and traditional teachings as they emphasize a sense of connectedness and exchange of traditional knowledge in a respectful and reciprocal manner. Audio files of gatherings were transcribed verbatim and shared with participants for additional feedback. Qualitative analysis identified emergent themes from the data.
Results: A total of 61 Métis women participated in the gatherings. Women reflected on how colonialism has led to intergenerational struggles in pregnancy and birthing, and has created systemic barriers to accessing care and resources. Women also reflected on Métis identities, and how strong connections with their own identity and the land reinforced a sense of cultural integration and continuity. Women indicated the need for incorporating Métis practices in the health care system, and advocated for the provision of culturally meaningful services throughout prenatal and postnatal care, and birth delivery. In addition to sharing their stories, participants proposed solutions to improve the experience of Métis Albertans during pregnancy and childbirth, and expressed feelings of support, community, and resiliency following participation in the gatherings.
Conclusion: Through qualitative gatherings of Métis women, we were able to explore the “stories behind the numbers” presented in epidemiological data and provide insights about factors that influence Métis women’s experiences of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood.