Sophie (Ookishkimaanisii)

Sophie is an Anishinaabe-kwe (Ojibwe and Potawatomi) from the Chippewas of Nawash First Nation at Neyaashiinigmiing, Ontario. She is Marten Clan. As an uninvited visitor in Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories, she is forever grateful to be living and learning in these beautiful lands.

Completing her degree in First Nations Studies and Creative Writing at UBC, Sophie plans on pursuing a career as a midwife in the near future. She completed her birth doula training in 2013 at Douglas College, joined the ekwi7tl Indigenous Doula Collective as a founding member in 2015, and attended her first birth as a doula later that year.

When I think about being a birth helper, I think about my great-grandmother, Beatrice Johnston (Aazhawashi-kwe). As a midwife and healer, she delivered and cared for most of the people in my community. She also passed on knowledge about our history and laws. This knowledge humbles and inspires me, and teaches me that birth and babies are the center of our communities. As a birth helper, it is my job to hold space for those going through the ceremony of birth, and help them in any way that they ask me to.

 I approach birth as a spiritual event and the most sacred, powerful ceremony. I draw on the teachings I’ve received from my Elders, aunties, and grandmothers to support mothers, families, and their babies on their journey into this world. I consider being asked to help at a birth is the highest honour and a true gift. Accepting a role as a birth helper for a family creates an everlasting bond, and responsibilities that I will alway carry and try to fulfill. As an Anishinaabe-kwe, I know and carry some of our language, ceremonies, and songs. I bring my traditional, spiritual, and ceremonial knowledge to births, to witness, support, and honour mothers, families, and babies.