Carol Couchie, Traditional Midwife
Carol graduated midwifery school from Ryerson University in 1998. Carol is the new Member at Large on the Association of Ontario Midwives Board, and her particular interest is to support and advance the board’s strategic goal around restoring birth to Indigenous communities. Enthusiastic about association-level work, she is a founding member of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM). She has served as a board member for women’s shelters, the College of Midwives of Manitoba, the Canadian Association of Midwives, and is an elder member of the core leaders of NACM. Carol has co-chaired the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada’s (SOGC) Aboriginal Women’s Health Committee and helped write the SOGC recommendations on returning birth to rural and remote Aboriginal communities, as well as recommendations for rural and remote maternity care. Carol is passionate about being a good midwife and a strong traditional teacher. She comes from a Family tradition of Midwifery, as her great grandmother was a midwife on Nipissing First Nation, her niece Evelyn George is a midwife who works in a First Nation in BC, and Carol is extremely proud to practice with her daughter, Rachel Dennis.
Rachel Dennis, RM
Ahnii, I’m Rachel. I graduated midwifery school from Ryerson University in 2012. In my senior year I trained at Seventh Generation Midwives Toronto (SGMT), an Indigenous focused
midwifery practice servicing the Greater Toronto Area. I continued to work at SGMT for my
first year and a half of practice after graduating. I credit my experience working with the
midwives as well as the clients at SGMT, as being pivotal to the development of my craft, and
navigating the areas of care where midwives can provide additional support.
As I am very passionate about bringing birth back to Indigenous communities, in the very infant stages of my midwifery career I endeavored to open a midwifery practice in my family’s home community of Nipissing First Nation with my mother Although my blood is from Nipissing, by roots also lye in Toronto’s Indigenous Community. This have provided a broader understanding of the positive outcomes associated with being cared for by Indigenous people in your own community. This value was especially instilled in me when I worked as a research assistant in the Inuulitsivik Health Centre in Nunavik. My mother and I have succeeded in continuing the matrilineal lines of midwifery practice, and
are thrilled that we were able to open the doors of K’Tigaaning Midwives, located on Nipissing First Nation (NFN) in November 2016. I was extremely involved with the planning and design of the clinic on NFN, and am responsible for the day-to-day business administration. As a result of this, I feel enthusiastic about sharing my experiences with other Indigenous midwives to help encourage the growth of midwifery in all Indigenous communities. Having worked at a camp as a teenager for intercity Indigenous youth, including a specialized camp for children with FASD, I have also developed and continue my passion for working with teens and marginalized youth. I have two beautiful children that I was fortunate enough to have at home, supported by my
partner and 4 generations of family members.
Audrey tenWesteneind, RM
Audrey graduated from midwifery school at Ryerson in 1998. She has practiced midwifery since then – her first 3 years in Toronto and the remainder in North Bay. Audrey was raised in southern Ontario, (Oshawa, the Kawarthas and then Toronto) in both urban and rural settings. She has spent much time in Temagami, Ontario, and was drawn to living in the North permanently by 2001. Audrey lived in South America for over a year, in her younger years, specifically in Colombia and Peru, and can speak French, Spanish and some Dutch. As a midwifery student, Audrey did a placement in the Netherlands in the community where her father was born and raised. As a working midwife, she has had the opportunity to work with Spanish speaking midwives in Toronto’s Hispanic community. Throughout her life, Audrey has been in touch with Indigenous culture and this includes spending time with some of the Indigenous families of Bear Island in Temagami, practicing midwifery in Attawapiskat during Locum placements, and working with a Native housing agency in Toronto. This experience rooted my passion to educate myself, and continuously work on accepting feedback in order to be a friend and ally. Working elsewhere can teach us so much about ourselves and enhance our skills. I am humbled by how much we can continue to learn each day. I am grateful to my supportive partner and teen son…who endure my many absences from home. Together we enjoy being active outdoors – biking, running, skiing, paddling. Being a midwife can be challenging, but it is such a privilege and a joy.
Emily Chartrand-Hudson, RM
I’m a registered Indigenous (Oji-Cree/mixed settler) Midwife. My journey to midwifery began when I attended the birth of my sister at home, with midwives on Manitoulin Island. I was only eight years old at the time but I was absolutely enthralled with the process and begged the midwife and my mom to let me be as involved as possible. The midwife designated me the “cold cloth” fetcher so I could cool off my mum’s forehead, asked me to give labor support, and even let me have a peek at the baby’s head crowned. I knew from that moment on that I wanted to support pregnant and laboring persons through this amazing transition when I grew up. Of course, no journey is without a few pit stops along the road. Before becoming a midwife, I briefly studied English Literature at Trent University and also lived for a time on Vancouver Island. During my midwifery education, I completed placements in Ottawa and Sudbury, as well as in the far north, on Attawapiskat First Nation. I was also the Student Representative for the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM) as a senior student and became a Core Leader of NACM for one year after graduation. I feel passionate about ensuring access to midwifery care in indigenous communities, providing culturally sensitive and trauma-informed care, as well as paving pathways for Indigenous midwifery education. I’m eternally grateful to the team at K’Tigaaning Midwives, our clients, and their families for the amazing opportunity that is catching babies and providing pre and post-natal care in our community. When I’m not busy with my work, I can usually be found hanging out with my partner and my cat, Margot, at home or in the woods. I love to get outside and take advantage of all the space North Bay has to offer – whether it be kayaking, hiking, or camping, I’m there! I’m also an avid Crossfitter and (very) occasional runner.
Office Manager and Second Attendant
I am a mum of many and Gigi to just as many. I was born and raised in Australia and moved to Canada in 1996. In Australia, I experienced being cared for by midwives during my labors. After moving to Canada, I had the privilege of caring for many children through the foster care system. This amazing, loving, and extremely educating time in my life gave me the opportunity to bond with many families, and begin to have an understanding of the ongoing effects of colonization on Indigenous families in Canada, and the injustices many folks continue to experience. Working within the foster care system, and my continued work with K’Tigaaning Midwives challenges me to remain open to learning. I have a deep willingness to be a trusted advocate and ally and am always ready to learn. I moved to Ontario in 2009 and met Carol and Rachel in 2013. That year provided many experiences that challenged, inspired, and enriched my life. Providing care to pregnant folks and their families, as well as support to the midwives, has made me feel that I am on the right life path. I currently live on a property in Astorville, with my beautiful son, one of my precious granddaughters, and a few animals.