IHNS Nurturing the Nursing Spirit Series 1: Cultivating Safe Spaces, August 17, 2020

Elaine Alec

Syilx & Secwepemc Nation
Pen­tic­ton Indi­an Band
Alder­hill Plan­ning Inc.




Elaine is from the Syilx (Okana­gan) Nation and Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation and is a mem­ber of the Pen­tic­ton Indi­an Band. She was raised by her grand­moth­er who spoke only the nsy­ilx­cen lan­guage, and it is this foun­da­tion that shaped her world view and the impor­tance of con­nec­tion and relationships.

Elaine has worked for Provin­cial and Fed­er­al gov­ern­ments as both employ­ee and con­trac­tor for the past 20 years. She has worked as a polit­i­cal advi­sor to British Colum­bia lead­er­ship, Chief of Staff to the BC Assem­bly of First Nations Region­al Chiefs’ and is the Union of BC Indi­an Chief’s Women’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive. She is an advo­cate for women and girls, facil­i­ta­tor and medi­a­tor for high­ly sen­si­tive issues, and has spent over 20 years in more than 100 com­mu­ni­ties across Cana­da cre­at­ing space for indi­vid­u­als to come togeth­er and plan from a place of self-determination.

Elaine is an entre­pre­neur of 23 years and part­ner in the Indige­nous-owned and oper­at­ed Alder­hill Plan­ning Inc., along with Chris Der­ick­son and Jessie Hemphill, lead­ing experts in Indige­nous com­mu­ni­ty planning.

Elaine lives in Kam­loops with her hus­band Ryan Day and is the proud mom of Kyle, Phoenix and Teslin.

IHNS Nurturing the Nursing Spirit Series 2: Revitalizing Indigenous Nurse-led Health Equity Research: Global Perspectives, October 19, 2020

Odette Best

RN, BHlth­Sc, MPhil, PhD
Gor­reng Gor­reng, Boonthanmurra
Pro­fes­sor, School of Nurs­ing & Midwifery,
Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Queensland




Dr Odette Best, BHlth­Sc Syd­ney, MPhil Grif­fith, PhD USQ through blood­line is Gor­reng Gor­reng (Wak­gun Clan) and a Boon­than­mur­ra woman and through adop­tion she is a Koo­mum­ber­ri, Yugam­beh woman and is cur­rent­ly Pro­fes­sor of Nurs­ing (Abo­rig­i­nal Research & Com­mu­ni­ty Engage­ment) School of Nurs­ing and Mid­wifery, Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Queens­land, Ipswich Campus.

Odette has been a reg­is­tered nurse for 30 years and is a hos­pi­tal trained reg­is­tered nurse (Princess Alexan­dra Hos­pi­tal) and fur­ther holds a Bach­e­lor of Health Sci­ences, (Uni­ver­si­ty of Syd­ney), Mas­ter of Phi­los­o­phy (Grif­fith Uni­ver­si­ty) and a PhD, (Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Queens­land). Odette’s PhD was titled Yat­d­juli­gin: the sto­ries of Abo­rig­i­nal Nurs­es in Queens­land from 1950–2005. Under­tak­ing her PhD, Odette found her pas­sion for delv­ing into the his­to­ry of Abo­rig­i­nal Aus­tralian women and their pur­suit of West­ern nurs­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions. Cur­rent­ly Odette is under­tak­ing research into the Native Nurs­es Train­ing Schools Queens­land that ran in the 1940 – 1950’s, the oral his­to­ry project of Aus­tralian Abo­rig­i­nal Nurs­es and Mid­wives with the Nation­al Library of Aus­tralia and fur­ther research­es and cre­ates his­to­ri­og­ra­phy of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Islander Nurs­es and Mid­wives across Aus­tralia. Fur­ther, Odette is cur­rent­ly research­ing the His­to­ri­og­ra­phy of Queens­land Abo­rig­i­nal nurs­es and mid­wives from the 1890s to the 1950s. This research aims to iden­ti­fy how Indige­nous women as nurs­es and mid­wives nav­i­gat­ed through the acts of pro­tec­tion­ism and seg­re­ga­tion eras and had agency with recog­nised qualifications.

John Lowe

Chero­kee, Creek, and Lenape Native American
Pro­fes­sor and Joseph Blades Cen­ten­ni­al Memo­r­i­al Pro­fes­sor­ship Chair
The Uni­ver­si­ty of Texas at Austin School of Nursing



Pro­fes­sor John Lowe, RN, PhD, FAAN Native Amer­i­can (Cherokee/Creek) and a Pro­fes­sor and the found­ing and cur­rent direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Indige­nous Nurs­ing Research for Health Equi­ty (INRHE) at Flori­da State Uni­ver­si­ty in Tal­la­has­see, Flori­da U.S.A. Pro­fes­sor Lowe is a Fel­low in the Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Nurs­ing and one of 23 Native Amer­i­can doc­tor­al pre­pared nurs­es in the U.S.A. He is also an alum­nus of the Amer­i­can Nurs­es Asso­ci­a­tion Eth­nic Minor­i­ty Fel­low­ship pre-doc­tor­al pro­gram and has served as the Chair of the Nation­al Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee. Lowe was also appoint­ed recent­ly to the Nation­al Advi­so­ry Coun­cil of the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Nurs­ing Research. He active­ly serves in elect­ed, appoint­ed, advi­so­ry and con­sul­tant posi­tions such as the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health, Inter­ven­tion Research to Improve Native Amer­i­can Health (IRINAH) Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health Coali­tion, Amer­i­can Col­leges of Nurs­ing (AACN) Endow­ment for Cul­tur­al Com­pe­ten­cies in Grad­u­ate Nurs­ing, Amer­i­can Acad­e­my of Nurs­ing Diver­si­ty and Inclu­siv­i­ty Com­mit­tee Amer­i­can Nurs­es Foun­da­tion, Flori­da Nurs­es Asso­ci­a­tion, Flori­da Nurs­es Foun­da­tion, Advi­so­ry Coun­cil of the State Imple­men­ta­tion Pro­gram of the Flori­da Action Coali­tion on the Future of Nurs­ing, Nation­al Coali­tion of Minor­i­ty Nurs­es Asso­ci­a­tions, Nation­al Alaskan Native Amer­i­can Indi­an Nurs­es Asso­ci­a­tion, Path­ways into Health, Unit­ed States Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices, Edi­to­r­i­al Board of Nurs­ing Research Jour­nal, Unit­ed Kee­toowah Band of Chero­kee Indi­ans Health Ini­tia­tives, Chero­kee Nation Healthy Nations Pro­grams, Uni­ver­si­ty of South­ern Queens­land Cen­tre for Rur­al and Remote Area Health Research, Cana­di­an Insti­tute of Health Research, Health Research Board of Ire­land Research Sci­en­tif­ic Review Com­mit­tee, Ital­ian Min­istry of Health Repub­lic of Italy Min­istry of Labour Health and Social Poli­cies Research Sci­en­tif­ic Review Com­mit­tee, Indige­nous Well­ness Insti­tute, Indige­nous HIV/AIDS Research Train­ing Insti­tute, and the Indi­an Health Ser­vice. Lowe orga­nized and host­ed the first inter­na­tion­al Indige­nous nurs­ing research gath­er­ing in 2017.

IHNS Nurturing the Nursing Spirit Series 3: Revitalizing and Reclaiming Traditional Ways of Birthing, November 16, 2020

Lucy Barney

Statlimx Nation
Provin­cial Lead, Indige­nous Health, Peri­na­tal Ser­vices BC
Cul­tur­al Advi­sor, Patient Expe­ri­ence, Chief Nurs­ing Office, First Nation Health Authority

Lucy is at the fore­front of devel­op­ing inno­v­a­tive and suc­cess­ful pro­gram­ming with Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple. She works on strate­gies to assist exist­ing pro­grams and to devel­op new pro­grams for maternal/child health that will enable Indige­nous peo­ple to access cul­tur­al­ly appro­pri­ate ser­vices. Lucy’s own life expe­ri­ence as a First Nation woman, moth­er, and tra­di­tion­al dancer brings enor­mous com­mit­ment, ded­i­ca­tion, and cre­ativ­i­ty to her work. She is a mod­el of strong, inno­v­a­tive lead­er­ship in the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ty. She was award­ed the Cen­te­nary Award and Award of Dis­tinc­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia: ACCOLAIDS Award for Inno­v­a­tive Pro­gram­ming and Lan­gara Col­lege Out­stand­ing Alum­ni Award for Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vice. Lucy com­plet­ed her Mas­ter of Sci­ence in Nurs­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia. She was pro­gram man­ag­er of Chee Mamuk, an Abo­rig­i­nal HIV/AIDS edu­ca­tion pro­gram at the BC Cen­tre for Dis­ease Con­trol, for nine years and is cur­rent­ly work­ing with Peri­na­tal Ser­vices BC and the First Nations Health Author­i­ty Mater­nal and Child Health.

Sage Thomas

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc

Sage is a moth­er of two chil­dren: ages 7 and 10 years old. She is a first nations mem­ber of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc com­mu­ni­ty, and cur­rent­ly resides in Kam­loops, BC with her fam­i­ly. Sage is an Indige­nous Birth Work­er: trained birth and post­par­tum doula, Breast­feed­ing Educator/Counsellor and Aspir­ing Mid­wife. She has been work­ing with and sup­port­ing fam­i­lies as a doula since 2012. Sage is also a pro­fes­sion­al­ly trained visu­al artist that works in a mul­ti­tude of medi­ums. She is cur­rent­ly a full-time stu­dent at Thomp­son Rivers Uni­ver­si­ty com­plet­ing a Bach­e­lor of Arts with a con­cen­tra­tion in Anthro­pol­o­gy (Indige­nous Stud­ies). Sage is a pos­i­tive role mod­el and advo­cate with­in her indige­nous com­mu­ni­ty. She has a pas­sion for the arts, repro­duc­tive rights and jus­tice, indige­nous and gen­der equal­i­ty, revi­tal­iz­ing indige­nous birthing prac­tices, and her Secwépemc cul­ture and language.


Dr. Jennifer Leason

Boozhoo, Ani­in Keesis Sagay Egette Kwe nin­diznikaaz (greet­ings, my name is First Shin­ing Rays of Sun­light Woman). Dr. Jen­nifer Lea­son is Anishi­naabek and a mem­ber of Pine Creek Indi­an Band, Man­i­to­ba and the proud moth­er of Lucas (age 11) and Lucy (age 9).

Dr. Lea­son is a Cana­di­an Insti­tute of Health Research, Cana­da Research Chair, Tier II, Indige­nous Mater­nal Child Well­ness and an Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­gary. Dr. Lea­son is the recip­i­ent of a CIHR Doc­tor­al Research Award (2013–2017); CIHR New Inves­ti­ga­tor Award (2017–2020); New Fron­tiers in Research Fund Award (2019–2021); and CIHR Oper­at­ing Grant (2020–2023). Her research aims to address peri­na­tal health dis­par­i­ties and inequities by exam­in­ing mater­ni­ty expe­ri­ences, health­care uti­liza­tion, and social-cul­tur­al con­texts of Indige­nous mater­nal child well­ness through Indige­nous matri­ar­chal wisdom.


Evelyn Good Striker

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc

Eve­lyn Good Strik­er, B. Ed., M.Ed. is a Lako­ta Dako­ta from Stand­ing Buf­fa­lo First Nation in Saskatchewan and Cheyenne Riv­er Sioux Tribe in South Dako­ta. She grew up expe­ri­enc­ing shift­ing edu­ca­tion poli­cies of the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment; attend­ing Day School, Res­i­den­tial School, and even­tu­al­ly inte­gra­tion into a pub­lic school at Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, where she attained grade 12 edu­ca­tion. Eve­lyn earned a Bach­e­lor of Edu­ca­tion Degree and a Mas­ter of Edu­ca­tion Degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Leth­bridge. She has been in the edu­ca­tion pro­fes­sion for many years as a class­room teacher and admin­is­tra­tor. Eve­lyn has enjoyed her long career as she loves work­ing with stu­dents, par­ents, edu­ca­tors, and any­one who wants to engage in the excite­ment of learning.

IHNS Nurturing the Nursing Spirit Series 4: Renewing and Reinforcing Systems Transformation, December 7, 2020

Dr. Terri Aldred

Tl’Azt’En Ter­ri­to­ry

Ter­ri is Car­ri­er from the Tl’Azt’En ter­ri­to­ry locat­ed north of Fort St. James. She is Lysiloo (Frog) Clan who are tra­di­tion­al­ly known as the voice of the peo­ple. She fol­lows her mother’s and Great-Grandmother’s line Cecil­ia Pierre (Prince). Ter­ri grew up in both the inner city of Prince George and on the Tachet reserve (in Lake Babine Ter­ri­to­ry) and these expe­ri­ences helped moti­vate her to go to med­ical school so she could give back to her com­mu­ni­ty. Ter­ri has a Bach­e­lor of Health Sci­ence Degree and a Doc­tor of Med­i­cine Degree from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta. She then went on to com­plete the Indige­nous Fam­i­ly Med­i­cine res­i­den­cy pro­gram through the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia. At present, Ter­ri is the Med­ical Direc­tor for Pri­ma­ry Care for FNHA, the Site Direc­tor for the Indige­nous Fam­i­ly Med­i­cine Pro­gram, Fam­i­ly Physi­cian for the Car­ri­er Sekani Fam­i­ly Ser­vices Pri­ma­ry Care team which serves 12 com­mu­ni­ties in north-cen­tral BC, and the Indige­nous Lead for the RCcBC. Sna Chaylia.

Annette Browne

Pro­fes­sor UBC

Annette J. Browne, PhD, RN, is a Pro­fes­sor and Dis­tin­guished Uni­ver­si­ty Schol­ar at the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia, School of Nurs­ing. Build­ing on her expe­ri­ence as a nurse who lived and worked with­in First Nations and Inu­it com­mu­ni­ties, Annette’s research has gen­er­at­ed a body of evi­dence aimed at improv­ing health­care and health out­comes for Indige­nous and non-Indige­nous peo­ples affect­ed by health and social inequities. Work­ing in part­ner­ship with com­mu­ni­ties, health and pol­i­cy lead­ers, and clin­i­cians, recent stud­ies have focused on: the impact of orga­ni­za­tion­al inter­ven­tions to improve health equi­ty in pri­ma­ry health care; health pro­mot­ing inter­ven­tions with Indige­nous women expe­ri­enc­ing vio­lence, and; strate­gies to improve equi­ty-ori­ent­ed care in emer­gency departments.


Rose Melnyk

St’uxwtéws te Secwépemc

Rose iden­ti­fies as St’uxwtéws te Secwépemc and of Ukrain­ian and Sicil­ian set­tler her­itage. Rose cur­rent­ly lives the in the unced­ed, ances­tral and tra­di­tion­al ter­ri­to­ry of the T’kemlups te Secwépemc peo­ples. As an Abo­rig­i­nal Prac­tice Lead with­in Inte­ri­or Health since 2015, she has imple­ment­ed strate­gic focus areas of the Abo­rig­i­nal Health & Well­ness Strat­e­gy 2015–2019 to sup­port sys­tem change across Inte­ri­or Health and con­tin­ues to build, fos­ter and grow part­ner­ships with First Nation and Metis com­mu­ni­ty health lead­ers and urban Abo­rig­i­nal ser­vice providers.

Rose is pas­sion­ate about health equi­ty, anti-Indige­nous racism, and the role of Indige­nous nurs­ing in lead­ing sys­tems change. This is evi­denced in recent projects such as the suc­cess­ful pro­pos­al and imple­men­ta­tion of $2 mil­lion ini­tia­tive for First Nation Elder Care Ser­vice Enhance­ment mod­el, a shared ini­tia­tive between Inte­ri­or Health & First Nations Health Author­i­ty to sup­port a clos­er to home and cul­tur­al­ly safe vision for Elders as well as lead­ing a strate­gic team of IH & FNHA lead­er­ship to imple­ment COVID-19 Spec­i­men Col­lec­tion in First Nation communities.


Vanessa Mitchell

Okanagan/Syilx Nation

Vanes­sa is an Okanagan/Syilx Nation woman, daugh­ter, sis­ter, niece, aunt, and moth­er of two young adults.

For the past 20 years, she has worked with­in urban and on-reserve Abo­rig­i­nal orga­ni­za­tions involv­ing youth, elders, lead­er­ship, and grass­roots’ ini­tia­tives. More recent­ly, she car­ries two roles with­in Inte­ri­or Health, Prac­tice Lead sup­port­ing two of the sev­en Inte­ri­or First Nations and as Pro­gram Man­ag­er of the Jour­ney to Abo­rig­i­nal Cul­tur­al Safe­ty & Humil­i­ty (JACSH) pro­gram. Vanes­sa is lead­ing the work of Abo­rig­i­nal Cul­tur­al Safe­ty with­in Inte­ri­or Health. In the five years that she has been with the Abo­rig­i­nal Health pro­gram, Vanes­sa has been lead­ing the advance­ment of the JACSH pro­gram and has built the team to include a Pro­gram Man­ag­er, Knowl­edge Facil­i­ta­tor, Edu­ca­tors and Admin­is­tra­tive Sup­port. This pro­gram strives to advance cul­tur­al safe­ty and humil­i­ty through­out the con­tin­u­um of health ser­vices and its lead­er­ship. Vanes­sa holds from the Uni­ver­si­ty of British Colum­bia – Okana­gan both a Mas­ter of Arts which is focused on cul­tur­al safe­ty and a Bach­e­lor of Arts major­ing in Indige­nous Studies.

Her roles align with her pas­sion for advo­ca­cy and rela­tion­ship and she describes what she does as “hard work and heart work”.