CWI was created with the vision is to empower and heal our Native communities by restoring the sovereignty of indigenous midwifery and returning to cultural birth practices. Learn more at Www.changingwomaninitiative.com
Midwife Nicolle L. Gonzales, Diné, founded CWI in 2014 with the mission to revitalize indigenous knowledge around birth and women's medicine through the development of a Native American birth center. Today CWI offers birthing and women's health services through the Corn Mother Easy Access Women's Health Clinic and White Shell Woman Homebirth Services.
“My primary goal as a nurse midwife is to keep birth sacred and in Native communities, by integrating and applying traditional knowledge,” says Nicolle.
In addition to providing direct services to Native American and Indigenous families, CWI works to increase awareness about the issues Native American women face when trying to access women's health and birth services. In New Mexico, 32% of Native American women live below the poverty line, and the services they access are not delivered in a way that is culturally sensitive. These factors increase the chances of expectant mothers discontinuing prenatal care or not accessing prenatal care on a regular bases, particularly in rural locations.
This Wednesday, May 5, join us live on Facebook and YouTube for our show Digging Deep, as we meet and talk with Shayai Lucero, CWI board president and citizen of the Pueblos of Acoma and Laguna. Shayai is a lifelong student of the traditional Pueblo healing methods and is certified in Traditional Mexican Healing. In 1997 she published a book on medicinal plants, which she began learning about at age 13 from her elders and relatives at Laguna and Acoma.
In 2016, she was selected as a “Changemaker” to attend the United States of Women Summit, hosted by the Obama White House. Shayai is the owner of Earth & Sky Floral Designs and Gallery in Laguna, which recently received the April Fueled by Purpose micro grant. Through Earth & Sky, she is working to indigenize and educate the floral industry by incorporating Pueblo culture into her designs.
Story & photos by Ungelbah Dávila-Shivers.
Ungelbah (Ungie) is an award winning Diné writer & photographer, and IAIA alumnus.