Resurgence of Indigenous Nationhood: Centering the stories of Indigenous full spectrum doulas
The relationships that maintain and sustain cultural continuity and wellbeing for Indigenous peoples have been disrupted by hundreds of years of colonial violence and destruction. As a result, for Indigenous peoples who give birth, there has been a severing of essential relationships, limiting access to and support from knowledge keepers for reproductive health needs. Recently, the practice of Indigenous full spectrum doulas has emerged and supports a reclamation of Indigenous reproductive health practices grounded in Indigenous knowledges and practices. This study explored experiences of Indigenous full spectrum doulas providing culturally grounded reproductive care for people across Turtle Island by asking the question: How does the work of Indigenous full spectrum doulas contribute to Indigenous resurgence? An Indigenist Re-search Bundle guided the re-search, which used natural conversations to gather stories about the experiences of Indigenous full spectrum doulas. Thirteen Indigenous full spectrum doulas shared stories about how they support people across a spectrum of reproductive outcomes and Indigenous resurgence. These stories are represented in the Indigenous Resurgence Knowledge Bundle and in the poems created through the use of Indigenist poetic inquiry. For each doula there are two poems, one presents a teaching gathered by sitting in mamâhtâwisiwin (deep contemplation) with the stories of participants in order to gain nistohtamowin (understanding) and one poem shares a reflection on my learning from each of the Indigenous full spectrum doulas. The findings suggest that the work of Indigenous full spectrum doulas supports Indigenous resurgence by building and strengthening relationships between Indigenous peoples, with their lands and plant medicines, and with ceremonies. Relational ways of being and doing have been central in the stories shared in the Indigenous Resurgence Knowledge Bundle. Building and being in relationship were central to how they engaged in their work. The stories expressed the responsibility we hold to be accountable to our relationships and to remain vigilant to care for one another: humans, plants, animals, waters, and lands. By fostering meaningful relationships across each of these areas, Indigenous full spectrum doulas hope to support sovereignty over Indigenous bodies and lands.