Woman is the first environment. In pregnancy our bodies sustain life. At the breast of women, the generations are nourished. From the bodies of women flows the relationship of those generations both to society and the natural world.
Driven to serve her community, Katsi Cook, a member of the Mohawk Nation at the Akwesasne reservation, trained as a midwife at Ina May Gaskin’s famous birth center, the Farm. As reflected in the preceding quote, Cook sees the importance in the connection between body and earth, and her work draws a thread between the two, while helping to strengthen and safeguard cultural traditions. She is well-known for having launched a pivotal study on PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) levels in the breast milk of Great Lakes Indian women, is the co-founder of the Konon:kwe Council, a women-led organization to end violence in the Mohawk community, founder of the Akwesasne Freedom School, an alternative to state run education for Mohawk students, and founder of the Six Nations Birthing Centre, which helps “Aboriginal families give birth to happy babies.” I would encourage everyone to read more about Katsi; a great place to start is this beautiful article by and about Katsi: http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/new-stories/325.
Midwife of the Week posts, written by Sirene-Rose Lipschutz, originate on FoMM’s Facebook page and are archived here on our website for your continued enjoyment!