Join us on October 12, 2023, alongside our partner, Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewag, for the upcoming Episode 3 of the Lawson Foundation Child and Youth Diabetes Strategy Virtual Learning Series!

Episode 3 will feature Jolene Mercer, Chairperson & Co-Founder, Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewag and Kathleen Bluesky, Co-Founder, Principal Consultant & Lead Trainer, Seven Feathers Consulting. During the session, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights and knowledge on the topic ‘Indigenous Birth Helpers: Restoring Birthing Practices and Knowledges‘.

Each episode showcases speakers who delve into topics related to health and Indigenous communities. Our overarching objective is to inform participants about Indigenous communities and their relationships with health and wellness and chronic diseases like diabetes. Moreover, we aim to serve as a catalyst for forging meaningful relationships among speakers, foundation and non-profit leaders, researchers, and policymakers, all united in the shared mission of providing enhanced support to reduce the occurrence of Diabetes among indigenous communities.

Register here 

For more information, contact Jeff LaPlante –

About Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewagut

Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewagut is a non-profit organization which was established in November 2015 through a grassroots community project, the Manitoba Indigenous Doula Initiative. Beginning in ceremony and deeply connected to culture and community, this group of birth workers saw a gap in how Indigenous families were accessing birth supports and prenatal care. Working together, they developed an initial project that serves as a foundation in improving access to culturally grounded birth workers and in turn improving maternal and child health and social outcomes. Since their launch Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewag has successfully offered culturally grounded training sessions within urban and rural communities.

Indigenous Birth helpers do not perform any clinical procedures; they are trained to provide emotional, physical, spiritual, and cultural support for expectant mothers/individuals and families. This support can lead to healthier pregnancies, a more positive and empowering birth experience, and increase in breastfeeding and breastfeeding duration during the postpartum period.

Jolene Mercer, Chairperson & Co-Founder, Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewag

Jolene Mercer is an Anishinaabe Ikwe from Peguis First Nation, a mother of four and a Kokoom to a beautiful granddaughter. She is a certified First Nations Health Manager and has extensive experience working with First Nation communities. Jolene is a co-founder of Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewag and is passionate about the revitalization of Anishinaabe and Cree values and ways of being. She is committed to revitalizing the traditional roles of Ogitchidakwe (Nokoomuk, Aunties, Sisters, Daughters) in the healing of families, relationships, and sacred connections. As a Kokoom and Mother, she continues to learn and carry the women’s teachings including the responsibilities for the protection of our children, the earth, and the water, for the benefit of all.

Kathleen Bluesky, Co-Founder, Principal Consultant & Lead Trainer, Seven Feathers Consulting

Kathleen Bluesky is a Nehetho-Anishinabe Iskwew from Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation. She is a devoted mother, partner, birth helper, and entrepreneur. She stives to be an advocate and champion for collaborative approaches that support community-driven solutions. Kathleen has an MBA and has worked over 20 years in the Indigenous government sector with a focus on health and healing, consultation, engagement, and community development. She is a co-founder of Wiiji’idiwag Ikwewag and served as the founding Chairperson for 5 years.

Amanda Mayer

Amanda Mayer

Amanda has been with the Lawson Foundation as Director of Communications & Governance since 2014. Cause-driven, engaged, and socially conscious – Amanda embraces opportunities that allow her to take on issues and support causes that inspire her.

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