Two Indigenous nurses pave the way to overcoming a colonial past to lead in health care

By Alexandra Mehl  Prior to colonization, Indigenous healers and midwives held significant roles in their communities, serving with their knowledge of harvesting, preparing and administering local medicinal plants, reads an article published by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). Even with Indigenous people’s rich history of traditional medicines and healing practices, Western healthcare systems have a longstanding past of alienating First Nations people from the sector. “The genesis of healthcare in Canada was a direct result of the relationship that the Jesuit missionaries had with our First Nations healers when they first came to the land,” said Lisa Bourque Bearskin of Beaver Lake Cree Nation, who is an associate professor for the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria (UVic). “When the settlers came over, they introduced disease. It was…

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