Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag

The Restoring the Sacred Bond Initiative will be delivered in partnership with Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag.


Restoring the Sacred Bond Program Participants

About Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag

Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag provides support that promotes traditional Indigenous child birth/parenting teachings capable of supporting Indigenous families and especially mothers in a traditional way.

Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag is committed to personal healing and wellness to foster nurturing and empowering relationships that will create a strong foundation to support communities and families.

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Vision & Purpose

Our vision is to leave a footprint with communities so that they may create their own path for:

Empowered families connected to their Indigenous language, culture, and identity throughout the journey of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and beyond.

Our purpose is to facilitate circles of women to come together and reclaim their roles as guardians of the sacred bond between mother and baby.

Manitoba Doula Initiative Vision

  • We are honoured to have been chosen to deliver the programming for the Restoring The Sacred Bond Initiative. Because we believe that the health of our communities starts with our women as they move through the birth cycle, we believe this Initiative will have a positive effect on the wellness of First Nations communities for generations to follow.
    - Board of Directors, Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag

Program Overview

The two-year pilot program, Restoring the Sacred Bond Initiative, will match Birth Helpers with Indigenous mothers who may be at risk of having their infant apprehended into the child welfare system.

The program will support up to 200 at-risk expectant mothers before, during and after birth.

The Southern Network is leading the Initiative and working in partnership with the service provider, Wiijii’idiwag Ikwewag, to identify expectant mothers in Winnipeg who may not have resources to effectively parent their baby. These mothers will then be connected to Birth Helpers, who are women trained to help with childbirth and early care.

Each Birth Helper will serve up to ten to twelve mothers at a time for nine to twelve months per mother. 

The Birth Helpers will support mothers in the following ways:

  • Build a relationship based on trust
  • Co-write a support plan
  • Refer to resources
  • Educate on pregnancy and parenting
  • Introduce and connect to Indigenous ceremonies and teachings
  • Give emotional, physical and spiritual support during labour
  • Guidance through CFS processes
  • Build a circle of support
  • Link to mental wellness resources including addictions treatment

Program Leadership

Jolene Mercer, Executive DirectorJolene Mercer

Executive Director

Jolene Mercer is an Anishinaabe Ikwe from Peguis First Nation, a mother of four and a Kookum to a beautiful granddaughter.

Jolene attended the University of Manitoba, Red River College and the Indigenous Women in Community Leadership program at the COADY International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.

Jolene is a Certified First Nations Health Manager and has extensive experience working with First Nations communities and organizations in areas of finance, health, youth and strategic planning.

Jolene is a co-founder of Wiijii’diwag Ikwewag (formerly the Manitoba Indigenous Doula Initiative) and is passionate about the revitalization of Anishinaabe values and ways of being.

She brings the teachings of her Elders and Grandmothers into her work to support the empowerment of communities and people.

Learn More About Our Initiative

If you would like to learn more about the Restoring the Sacred Bond Inititave, please feel free to start a conversation.

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