Birth Rites

Friday June 20, 2014
6:15 pm Pre-show Presentation
7:00 pm Feature Film
8:00 pm Community Panel
Amphitheatre, Saint Paul University, Ottawa


A documentary from Australia, Birth Rites draws powerful comparisons, exploring the experiences of Indigenous women in Australian outback and women from communities in remote and Northern Canada, as they prepare to give birth.  Women share their stories of of how removing them from their families and communities to give birth is a serious intrusion into their personal and collective well-being, that has serious repercussions for all.

This documentary intends to stimulate discussion and increase public awareness, in the hopes of creating positive political and social change.

Special Presentation Preceding the Film – 6:15 pm

Kokum “Grandmother” Francine will be joined by other members of her community to facilitate the water ceremony and drumming. As we are in the “strawberry moon”, the ceremony and teachings will focus on women’s rites of passage.  She will offer the group a teaching that is appropriate for those who are able to gather with us at 6 pm at Saint Paul on Friday, June 20th before the film starts. Please bring your non-disposable water bottles for the ceremony and your own drums for the drum circle if you wish. You can contact Francine at akiikwe AT ymail DOT com.

Panel Discussion and Talk Back to follow the film

Jasmine Chatelain is a midwife practising in Ottawa. She has been involved in birthwork and community development for 15 years. She is currently working with an interdisciplinary group to teach community health and to facilitate a grassroots, self-directed health system program for indigenous communities in the Ecuadorean Andes. She lives with her family in Wakefield, Quebec.

Karen Lawford is a Registered midwife, Aboriginal midwife, and a PhD candidate at the University of Ottawa. Karen’s research focus is the federal government’s evacuation policy for pregnant First Nations women living on rural and remote reserves. She is particularly interested in making visible Canada’s policy goals to assimilate and civilize Aboriginal peoples through the provision of maternity care. You can contact Karen at karen_lawford AT yahoo DOT ca.

Anna Maranta is a Rabbi and co-founder of the Ottawa Centre for Spiritual Direction; she is also a former midwife with over 25 years experience.  Anna is the Spiritual Director of the Glebe Minyan, a Jewish Renewal spiritual community that seeks to integrate the heart, mind, body and soul in Jewish Practice.   Anna uses her skills as a Life Coach, Counsellor and Educator to support people on their life journey.

Francine Payer, Aki Songideye Ikwe, Métis Algonquin of the Turtle Clan, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of 2. Drum carrier, traditional dancer, seed keeper, spokesperson for the water and the forest and carrier of the People’s Sacred Pipe. Respected grandmother at the Sundance and the Sundance community, she is the keeper of traditional wisdom. She has been working for many years within the school system helping teachers with the aboriginal curriculum.

She facilitates several ceremonies including full moon ceremony every month, rites of passage for young girls and women, ceremony of gratitude and water ceremonies. She organizes gathering on earth day, World Water day, World Peace Day and yearly gathering of the wisdom keepers. Every year she facilitates the International Indigenous Day at the Montréal Botanical Garden.

She participated in the Mother Earth Water Walk and walked from Hawkesbury to Sudbury for the Water. She participates for the last 6 years in the peace mission paddling on the St. Lawrence River from Kahnawake to Quebec City where a tree of peace is transplanted on the plains of Abraham.

Co-founder of the Foundation for the great earth peace, co-founder of SOS Poigan, on the board of direction of Uashteu Cultural Society, member of Les Familles du Monde.Org. Apart from her involvement in the Aboriginal community she is also the founder of Aki Ikwe Healing Center in Navan. You can contact her at akiikwe AT ymail DOT com.

Advance sales are now closed.

Tickets will be available at the door for $15, until we are sold out.  Cash only please.

Paperless Tickets

Paper tickets will not be issued.  You will receive a confirmation e-mail and your tickets will be noted by your e-mail address.  You do not need to print anything – we’ve gone paperless!

Location of the Screening

All screenings will be held at Saint Paul University at 223 Main Street, across from The Green Door Restaurant in Ottawa, Ontario.  Parking is available on the North side of the building for a flat fee of $10.  Street parking is also available. Please enter the building through the door off the North parking lot.  There will be a sign to indicate what room the screening will be in.

For more information on the location of the screening, please click here.

There is a Facebook page for this event.

This festival is completely volunteer run.  All proceeds will go to support local birth and breastfeeding groups.

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