Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Story

      I have thought many times how I would tell my story.  I would start to write it down, only to stop in fear of seeing it in print.  But mostly, I would stop writing it down for fear of speaking my truth and not wanting to hurt those dear to my heart in telling it.  I think it takes courage for one to tell their story.  Every now and then I get a feeling inside of me, my subconscious urging me to put pen to paper, but my inner plea's go on def ears, because deep down it is my fear that keeps me from going there.  However, as of lately that inner voice is getting stronger....speak your truth...don't hold back...don't be afraid...keep going...keep going.

      It's no secret that I have been in a state of contemplation and exhaustion, at which I feel has been rooted in a feeling of defeat for our people.  However, my body, mind, and spirit desire liberation.  It is this desire to heal and move forward by recreating the tools necessary to once again be liberated.  It is through my work as a midwife that I find inspiration and the realization that the power to change our future is within our own grasp, but the tools to do so are not.  I feel consumed in my efforts to create a path to do so.  I worry my strong desires and courageous efforts will mean nothing and that all I have sacrificed will have been for..what?

      I tell my story not for empathy or to shame those who have contributed to it, but more as a need to be understood, humanized, and to no longer be an invisible piece of which is how our indigenous histories are viewed to this day to be...invisible. As I sit in silence contemplating my reality, this quote strikes a cord in me.

"We must and will have women leaders among us.  Native women are going to raise the roof and decry the dirty house which patriarchy and racism have built on our backs"
-Lee Maracle-

      As we move forward with our birth center work, nothing is more of a reality check then to see and feel the wall we are up against.  It is disheartening to see mainstream medical systems appropriate knowledge from disenfranchised communities, then to use it in a manner that further marginalizes these communities for their own financial gain. This does not sit well with me.
      I am honored to stand with my midwife sisters as we toe the line in representing our marginalized communities, cultures, multi-cultural perspectives and world views.  We each have our stories to tell and our own healing paths to walk.  Believe it or not we each carry within ourselves scars of historical trauma that is being healed as we process each obstacle life presents to us.  The work that we have done thus far has been built on our backs, it has been drawn from what little resources we have and we are painfully aware that our savings grace is not someone else coming to save us, but rather we must do the work to save ourselves. 
     I realize my silence does nothing to help our efforts and only in speaking up about our struggles do we begin to humanize our stories.  

        A woman chooses a path following the old laws, set in todays world to free her people
Our life
Our children
Our future


  1. Hi Nicolle!

    My name is Adina, and I am a birth doula, aspiring midwife, and college student majoring in Religion. I have been reading your blog over the last several months, and have learned a tremendous amount from it. Reading about the ways that midwifery/women's health, reclaiming of tradition, and changing unjust societal structures all intersect in your work has been inspirational!

    I am currently in Albuquerque doing research on the connection between childbirth and religion. I am wondering if you might have time to speak with me about your own journey and experience as a midwife who is deeply rooted in and informed by your cultural traditions. I am here until mid-July, and can meet with you wherever and whenever is most convenient for you. Please let me know--my email address is or

    Thank you so much! And thank you for the amazing, inspiring, and important work that you do.


  2. Nicolle,

    Someone told me you might know the answer to a question I have. I'm trying to track down the proper spelling of the name of an OBGYN who works on the Navajo Nation via the Indian Health Services as the Chief Clinical Consultant of OBGYN. She left a wonderful comment during the NIH VBAC Conference public comment section that I would like to quote and use in an article I'm writing. The transcript has her name as Gene How (which is exactly how she pronounced it phonetically,) but when I try to google her, I can't find any record and I would hate to be spelling her name incorrectly. This was in 2010, so she might no longer be in that position.

    Any help you can lend would be much appreciated. You can also reply here:



  3. Jen,

    It's a small world. I know her. She is now working at the Shiprock IHS. We are on a planning committee for a Indigenous Women's Health conference in 2014. You can try calling the Shiprock IHS to see if you can talk with her personally. I hope this helps