Our Creation Story
Changing Woman Initiative was dreamed up by founder Nicolle L. Gonzales, Navajo Nurse-Midwife. After years of working as a midwife in her community and seeing many Native American women struggle with navigating western medical healthcare systems, she felt there was a better way that would center the needs of the women and families she cared for. Nicolle saw assimilation being practiced from birth on which has a huge impact on a Native American family’s ability to bring their loved ones into this world. She wanted to reinstate a culturally supported and include ceremonial ways into births that is representative of the community they come from.
Since 2015, Changing Woman Initiative has been growing public awareness around the continuously overlooked issues of Native American maternal health and the lack of Native American/ Indigenous representation within midwifery in the United States. We became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Spring 2018. During this time, CWI undertook a 12-month strategic planning process and digital storytelling project. We engaged with Native American women, families, midwives, doulas, and elders to discuss effective sustainable ways for Changing Woman Initiative to ensure access to decolonized Indigenously centered, accessible healthcare and traditional childbirth options for Native American women.
We are indigenous leaders and community healers, centering our families and communities, transforming the cultural narrative and setting in motion policy changes. Our mission is to support our diverse indigenous communities, to renew cultural birth, and the fundamental indigenous human right to reproductive health, dignity and justice.
Our vision is to restore the sovereignty of indigenous midwifery and community health with the return to gender equality and cultural birth practices.
To honor all our relations through language, land, ceremony, and traditions; with humility, responsibility, fortitude, compassion, generosity, and respect.