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22 Mar 2021

Why Does DTI Exclude Rebozo Training In Our Doula Curriculum?

By The DTI team

It’s World Doula Week at DTI—and this year, we want to uplift, support and acknowledge some of the incredible advocacy and activism happening in our field around the use of the rebozo.

It’s time (and has been time) for doula organizations and training groups led by white and non-Indigenous leaders to retire rebozo education.

At our organization, this has been a journey, too. Over the last few years, we have phased out the practice in our own curriculum in the pursuit of cultural humility, thanks to research, education and support from Indigenous organizers in the community.

To quote a petition recently Angeles Mayte Noguez Acolt and Montserrat Olmos Lozano, Mexican Tutunaku Birth Workers:

“The Rebozo is a sacred textile that has been created and preserved by Indigenous communities across Mexico, Central and South America. It is a treasured part of our culture, and we feel that its current representation in birth work does not reflect that. Countless organizations, midwives, and individual doula trainers are introducing new, as well as experienced doulas to the Rebozo in a manner which does not address the complexities of its use.

These ‘Rebozo trainings’ are often very brief and only cover very basic aspects of the Rebozo. These trainings (whether in-person or virtual) are universally done without proper attention paid to anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics. Brand new doulas are expected to go out into the world with this incredibly superficial understanding and practice these techniques on the bodies of pregnant people. This is deeply irresponsible.”

We agree, and we want to call on our fellow educators, members and peers in this field to examine their own practices, too.

In honor of World Doula Week, you can sign the petition “Removing Rebozo Teachings from Doula Trainings” with us by clicking here. You can also take a webinar on the subject here.

Thank you to Acolt and Lozano for their leadership!

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