These Navajo Nurses Are on an Amazing Mission

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown October 5th, 2015 Last Updated on: October 5th, 2015


Unfortunately when we think of the modern birthing experience, cold hospitals and pain medications are usually what come to mind. These two Navajo women are hoping to change that way of thinking with their project, Changing Woman Initiative.

What a great idea! The Changing Woman Initiative hopes to develop a Native American-centered women's health collective in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area that will bring the birth experience back to the Indigenous ways.

This project is the brainchild of two talented midwives who were inspired by their Dine' teachings. Here's a little more about their journey.

Nicolle L. Gonzales, Navajo Certified Nurse-Midwife, from Waterflow, NM.

Brittany Simplicio, Navajo/Zuni Certified Nurse-Midwife, from Shiprock, NM.

In Beauty I walkThis amazing digital story is the first time Brittany has talked about her path to midwifery. When I saw it the first time I was amazed at how honest was. We have each had our own trials and tribulations to get where we are today. We both still have our own paths to walk. Seeing this film, I am thankful she is apart of this initiative.

Posted by The Changing Woman Initiative on Monday, October 5, 2015

Their GoFundMe campaign is still taking donations. Their goal is to raise $40,000 to go towards:

1) Logo – For the Changing Woman Initiative
2) Website -development of an interactive website
3) Travel to Canada – to visit 2 Aboriginal Birth centers in Toronto and Six Nations Reserve.

The purpose of this trip is to learn about their innovative wellness frameworks which were developed around their Aboriginal cultural wellness systems. We understand that working with Native American communities is unique and we wish to learn from these two successful models.

We also plan to attend the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives Gathering.

4) Short documentary – which would be done through film and photography. The short film will discuss the history of birth in Native American communities, the history of Native American midwives, and the importance of developing community centered wellness health centers through The Changing Woman Initiative. We wish to share this with the larger community and also hope it will provide support for Native American communities in the U.S. who are interested in starting a culturally focused community birth center.

5) Community Outreach – Three facilitated gatherings to bring together the community and regional partners to “vision” and “plan” for the future of the birth center for Native American women in Northern New Mexico.

Please visit https://www.gofundme.com/thechangingwoman to find out more! We wish you well on your mission!

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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