CFNHM, Health Director, Wagmatcook First Nation
Elaine Allison is a Health Director at Wagmatcook First Nations. Elaine is a Registered Nurse for 40 years.
Elaine is also Co-Chair of Tajikeimik (the Mi’kmaq Health and Wellness Authority in Nova Scotia) and has been working in Nursing in First Nations for 30 Years.
Executive Director, First Nations Housing Professionals Association
Candace Bennett is a First Nations Housing Professional . She resides in her home community, the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation (ON).
With a career spanning over 22 years working within the First Nation Housing industry, her long-time career has exposed her to the many facets of developing, delivering, and maintaining First Nations Housing and the many gaps present for Housing Managers. Her breadth of exposure spans across First Nation grass roots, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Assembly of First Nations and private industry.
Chief Executive Officers, Carol Blair and Associates Inc. and Project Manager and Lead Consultant for the First Nations Health Consortium for the National Project on the Implementation of Jordan’s Principle across Canada
As a health professional and former health executive, Carol consults in the fields of community and population health, continuing care, including home care and supportive living, as well as organizational development and governance.
Carol has consulted in a wide variety of projects addressing strategic and program planning initiatives at the federal, provincial, and regional levels, including First Nations communities and other Indigenous groups.
Carol has a degree in nursing with distinction from the University of Alberta and was awarded the Gold Medal. On personal level, Carol is a ‘cradle’ Albertan, has cycled seven countries in the world and, loves living in the country surrounded by nature and all its critters!
Carol has been privileged to work with the Alberta First Nations Health Consortium since its inception in 2017. She served as the Project Manager and the Lead Consultant in the national data collection project to review the implementation of Jordan’s Principle across Canada in 2020-2021. Today she is pleased to present the key findings of that project.
Executive Director, Mawiomi Treatment Services
Melissa Bryan is a member of Gesgapegiag First Nation and is currently the Interim Executive Director for Mawiomi Treatment Services. She is in the process of working towards her Certified First Nations Health Manager professional designation and also has an educational background in Criminology and Addictions.
Melissa has experience working in a variety of areas for her community through policy development, communications, community engagement, cultural safety, addictions and mental health. Within her current leadership role, Melissa strives to provide the best quality care possible to the individuals and families that the center serves. Mawiomi provides a safe place of healing for individuals struggling with addictions and mental health to reconnect to their culture and improve their overall wellness.
Jonathan Luke Dunn
Senior Policy Analyst, Health Department, Assembly of First Nations
Jonathan Luke Dunn is a Senior Policy Analyst for the Assembly of First Nations Health Sector. He is passionate educator with Anishinaabe and Scottish ancestry, a status member of the Mississauga First Nations.
He grew up in Southwest Florida, completing his Bachelor of Science in Biology. He moved to Montreal to study the innate immunity and Tuberculosis at McGill University’s Meakins-Christie Laboratories, completing a Master of Science in Microbiology and Immunology. He later taught math and science at Indigenous High Schools in Kuujjuarapik, Nunavik and Kahnawà:ke, and In the Fall of 2020, joined AFN to utilize his scientific background and personal experiences to support First Nations communities.
Services for Persons With Decreasing Independence Advisor, First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC)
Julie Duplantie holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a master’s degree in community health from Université Laval, as well as a graduate diploma in visual impairment rehabilitation from Université de Montréal.
She has been working for the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission since 2017. Her work as a Services for Persons With Decreasing Independence Advisor, in particular, consists in implementing the Continuing Care Framework Policy and supporting First Nations communities and organizations.
Housing Administrator, Penticton Indian Band, BC
Tabitha Eneas is a proud member of the Penticton Indian Band. Her Okanagan name is Sneena, which means Owl in the Syilx language. She has worked for her community for 23 years, in multiple areas building experience and capacity. Tabitha started out in finance as a data entry clerk and through hard work and commitment, was appointed the Housing Administrator in 2010, overseeing the Penticton Indian Bands Housing and Infrastructure department which consists of a multi-million dollar budget, a housing portfolio of over two hundred homes, and staff ranging from 1 to 5 employees.
Not only is Tabitha involved in Housing, but she assists in the management of other areas of the Band, including Capital, Emergency Management, Policy and Planning and Insurance Management.
The years of experience that Tabitha has gained has allowed for the opportunity to branch off into other areas. She has worked with Turtle Island and Associates and the First Nation Market Housing Fund, facilitating information sessions. She has worked with ISC as a mentor to other First Nations, offering support and guidance in the On Reserve Housing area through facilitation of information sessions and workshops.
Tabitha has received a CAPA designation, Certified Aboriginal Professional Administrator, through the Aboriginal Finance Officers Association; Housing Manger Certificate through BCIT; Project Management Certification through Okanagan University College. She is currently working with FNHPA towards the Housing Manager certification and is completing the Land Management Certificate program with Vancouver Island University.
Tabitha continually works towards improving housing initiatives for the members of the Penticton Indian Band, through best practices, innovation, and long-term planning.
CFNHM, Health Director, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
Kimberly Fisher is an Anishinaabekwe from Chippewas of the Thames First Nation and a mother of two adult sons.
She is a Health Director who oversees all the health programs and services and is celebrating her twentieth year working in her community. She is very enthusiastic and passionate about bringing wholistic, inclusive and equitable health services for our First Nations people.
Kimberly’s educational background is in Health Services Management and Administration,and she is a Certified First Nation’s Health Manager.
In her spare time, she enjoys going for walks, traveling, and spending time with her two sons, family, and friends.
Elder Harry Francis
Leading Thunderbird Lodge, SK
Elder Francis is a respected Elder and member of the Piapot First Nation and Knowledge Keeper for the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council area. Elder Francis has been working with Leading Thunderbird Lodge youth treatment centre for almost 13+ years, as an Elder, cultural advisor, and in supporting the Lodge’s equine therapy program.
Through traditional teachings of this grandparents (the last of the free roaming people), Elder Francis is able to provide foundational cultural and historical knowledge to treatment centre programming, as well as facilitating pipe, sweat lodge, rain dance, and horse dance ceremonies, feasts, name giving, medicine picking, and many other ceremonial practices and traditional teachings.
Although able to retire, Elder Francis still provides support and guidance to Leading Thunderbird Lodge Board, Staff, and Youth, but also gives of his time to the many community requests that are requested of him each day from the Regina General Hospital, Provincial Justice System and community members in crisis or mourning.
Health Director, The Blackfoot Confederacy Tribal Council
Aapooyaki Bonnie Healy is a Kaamipoisaamiiksi Member.
Aapooyaki is a Registered Nurse from the Kainai Nation. Bonnie’s professional background is multi-faceted as she has worked in numerous health capacities at the local, national, and international levels. She is actively involved in her Niitsiitaapi (Blackfoot) ways of knowing. She is the former Executive Director of the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre’s (AFNIGC). She is currently the Blackfoot Confederacy Health Director.
Bonnie fulfilled the role as the Chair for the First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) July 2017 – August 2020. Bonnie’s passion is to support First Nation communities and provide them with tools that they can implement to further support communities in information data sovereignty and Indigenous research methodologies.
Two Eagles HR Consulting and Member of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation, YT
Robin is of Vuntut Gwitch’in ancestry and is a citizen of the Teslin Tlingit First Nation in the Yukon Territory.
Mr. Henry possesses a BA in Social Sciences, a Chartered Professional in Human Resources designation, and certification in Strategic Leadership from the UBC Sauder School of Business.
To complement those designations, Robin holds the designation of Chartered Director, as well certification in Leading People, and Investing to Build Sustainable Communities from the Harvard Business School.
Mr. Henry has 25 years of experience in senior human resource management positions with several organizations including local, provincial and national First Nations and Indigenous organizations.
Michael T. Horne
Manager, Home and Community Care and the Residential Facility for Seniors, Kahnawake Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services
Michael is the manager at the Home and Community Care Services at Kahnawà:ke Shakotiia’takehnhas Community Services.
For the past 18 years Michael has been the Program Manager for Kahnawake Home and Community Care Services/ Turtle Bay Elders Lodge.
Michael has been active on the Quebec Regional level at the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services as a member of the Regional Framework Policy on Continuing Care for Adults with Decreasing Independence, and Long-Term Care Regional Facilities working committee for the past 10 years.
Program Coordinator, Binesiwag Center for Wellness
Bobby Hudon is a proud, queer, and Indigenous individual who was born and raised in Manitoba. He has worked in social services for 8 years, building and nurturing 2SLGBTQIAP+ safe spaces and communities in both inner city and rural environments. Much of his work is founded in Indigenous culture, as well as harm reduction principles.
In 2019, Bobby moved to Fort Frances, Ontario to start a family with his partner, Jordan. In 2020, Bobby began work as a Wellness Helper at Binesiwag Center for Wellness and co-founded the Q’s & A’s (Queers & Allies) program, a weekly drop-in for 2SLGBTQIAP+ individuals. It was through this program, that the Rainbow Connection was birthed to life.
Bobby has also worked in partnership with United Native Friendship Centre in developing Giinawind- “All of us”, a support group dedicated to providing peer and community support for relatives, caregivers, and family members of 2SLGBTQIAP+ folx.
CSP Team, Tsow Tun Le Lum Society
George Jeffrey is of Tsimshian and Gitxsan ancestry and a member of the Raven Clan. He was adopted by the Nuu-chah-nulth people and was given the name Hoomiis and carries traditional teachings around Spruce, Cedar, Hemlock, and water.
George has served on the Cultural Support Team for Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society for over 10 years. George has training in the area of healing complex trauma, and works with First Nations Health Authority, a wellness organization driven by the First Nations holistic and traditional perspective of health and wellness.
George is deeply committed to supporting people in their healing journey; and brings a strong cultural focus and personal connection to his work.
He enjoys and honours time spent with his family. He is an archery enthusiast and enjoys spending time with the newest addition to the family – a Siberian husky named Stormy.
Throughout his career, George has worked with all levels of government, First Nations communities and organizations.
Research Assistant, Health Equity Action Research Team, Western University
Alana Kehoe currently resides on Treaty 6 territory in St. Albert, Alberta. Alana graduated with her Master’s in Anthropology from the University of Western Ontario and has a Bachelor of Arts from MacEwan University. In her Master’s, Alana’s research focused on the role colonialism plays in the impact of wildfire on Indigenous people in Northern Alberta.
Alana is a research assistant for the Health Equity Action Research Team at the University of Western Ontario. In this position, Alana examines the effect of COVID-19 on First Nations in Ontario, specifically looking at the impact that health partnerships have on health outcomes.
Alana also holds a position as a Disaster Risk Management Advisor at the Canadian Red Cross.
CFNHM, Special Projects Advisor, First Nations Health Managers Association
Lori has had the privilege of working in Indigenous health for over 20 years. She grew up in the far north and since moving south, she has worked with the federal government, with not-for-profit associations, with First Nation communities, and with a variety of Indigenous organizations.
She has authored and co-authored several publications and has created and delivered workshops to thousands of participants across Canada. Lori now works on special projects with the FNHMA, in collaboration with First Nation health managers across Canada.
Lori has earned an MBA, a “Professional Certificate for Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing”, is a trained facilitator, and is a certified change management practitioner.
Interim Health Ombudsperson, Ombudsman Office, Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations
Dr. Alika Lafontaine
President, Canadian Medical Association
Dr. Alika Lafontaine (MD, FRCPC) is an award-winning physician, social innovator, and the first Indigenous doctor listed in Medical Post’s 50 Most Powerful Doctors. He was born and raised in Southern Saskatchewan with a mixed Indigenous ancestry of Metis, Anishinaabe, Cree and Pacific Islander.
Dr. Lafontaine has served in provincial and national medical leadership positions for almost two decades. In August 2022 he became the first Indigenous physician to serve as President of the Canadian Medical Association. Dr. Lafontaine is a respected authority on health systems, change management, social innovation, anti-racism, and reflective practice.
From 2013 to 2017 Dr. Lafontaine co-led the Indigenous Health Alliance project, one of the most ambitious health transformation initiatives in Canadian history. The Alliance successfully advocated for $68 million of federal funding for Indigenous health transformation in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. He was recognized for his work in the alliance by the Public Policy Forum, where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau presented the award.
In 2020, Dr. Lafontaine co-founded Safespace Networks with his brother Kamea, an Indigenous dentist and software developer. Safespace Networks is a Web 3.0 learning platform for safe and anonymous reporting of healthcare harm and waste.
Director of Health and Social Services, Gesgapegiag Health and Community Services, Gesgapegiag First Nation, QC
Amanda Larocque is a Health Director from the Gesgapegiag First Nation, located on the traditional Mig’gmaq territory of Gespe’gewag’gi covering the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec.
Amanda is an Indigenous Mi’gmaq woman and is a Certified Health Manager.
Amanda holds a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Social Work degree and is currently seeking a Masters of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa.
Senior Policy Advisor, Health Department, Assembly of First Nations
Marlene Larocque is Cree from Waterhen Lake First Nation in northern Saskatchewan. Marlene has worked with the Assembly of First Nations Health Sector since 2015 and is a Senior Policy Advisor with a focus on public health. Marlene holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of Saskatchewan and a Bachelor of Social Work from Carleton University.
CFNHM, Director General, CLSC Naskapi and Member of the Kahnawake First Nation, QC
Keith is a proud Mohawk from the Kahnawake Territory. He has always worked in Indigenous Health and continues to be active supporting health development for our communities.
Growing up in Detroit and Kahnawake, he was privileged to work in four First Nations communities for 37 years.
Keith has provided support for Indigenous health and policy development for FN Health Managers. He continues to participate and sits on many Boards and Working Groups today, including FNMHA. His volunteer activities had included 30 years as a volunteer certified firefighter and as a certified Emergency Medical Technician.
His major focus today is to provide leadership as Chairperson of the Pathways Indigenous Advisory Circle.
Keith wishes to acknowledge his wife, Jackie (Principal of the Kahnawake Survival School) and his family for their love and support to continue serving others when asked.
Associate Director, Youth Solvent Addiction Committee (YSAC)
Karen is a member of the Standing Buffalo Dakota Nation located in southern Saskatchewan. Karen holds a Bachelor of Administration degree, a First Nations Health Manager Certification, and a Professional Director designation.
Karen’s work experience includes many years of working with non-profit organizations.
Karen’s current position is as Associate Director for YSAC where her focus is providing support for the 10 YSAC centres in the area of Accreditation, Board Governance and the facilitation and promotion of the Life is Sacred Life Promotion training program. Karen has experienced the loss of many family members and friends due to suicide and supports and advocates the importance of work in the area of Life Promotion.
President, Indigenous Dental Association of Canada
Wabishki mitadim ojichidaa ikwe / White Horse Warrior Woman is a member of Sagkeeng First Nation, located on Treaty 1 Territory in Manitoba. She is a mother to four grown children and wife to her husband Andrew for almost 3 decades. Her family originates in Manitoba, including Sagkeeng FN, Little Black River FN, St.Peter’s/Peguis FN, and Bad Throat/Manigotagan communities. Dr. McKinstry is a pediatric dentist and founder of the Indigenous Dental Association of Canada.
She completed a Bachelor of Science in 2001, a Bachelor of Science in Dentistry and a Doctor of Dental Medicine in 2005, a Master of Public Health in 2017, and a Master of Dentistry in 2020 when she also completed her residency in pediatric dentistry. She successfully completed the National Dental Specialty Examination in 2020 and the Royal College of Dentists of Canada Fellowship examination in 2021. Dr. McKinstry is a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada.
David McLaren, CFNHM, President, FNHMA Board of Directors, and Health Director, Kebaowek First Nation, QC
David has been working in Kebaowek First Nation since 1987 where he spent the first 8 years of his career dedicated to the community’s safety and justice as a police officer. Prior to this, David spent 3 years as an Economic Development Agent for the Algonquin Tribal Council of Western Quebec, and 3 years as an Admissions Agent for the Quebec Ministry of Manpower and Revenue Security.
David then obtained his DEP in Pulp & Paper and worked in the industry for 5 years as Safety Supervisor within the Human Resources Department and was responsible for the Health & Safety of over 1,000 employees at the Temiscaming Tembec site. In 2002, David returned to the community as the new Health Director and led his team to become the first community in Canada to operate under the new Flexible funding Agreement model. With his college diploma in Human Sciences and Police Technics as a foundation and numerous years of experience and training in H.R. management, David was able to attain his professional designation as a Certified First Nations Health Manager (CFNHM) from the First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA).
During the last 12 years, David was elected by his peers to sit as Vice-President of Health of the First Nation of Quebec and Labrador Health & Social Services Commission. In 2018, David was appointed by the Quebec Minister of Health to sit as a board member of the Centre Integre de Sante et des Services Sociaux de L’Abitibi-Temiscamingue, a regional health authority where he is now the vice-president of their board.
David has spent 2 mandates as a duly elected member of council for his community of Kebaowek First Nations and is currently mandated by his Chief & Council to represent their community on for their Onimiki Renewable Energy LLC for their run-of-the-river hydro project.
David is a recipient of the FNHMA Leadership Award, in recognition of outstanding contribution to the development of the First Nations Health Managers Association, by being a participant of the First Nations Health Managers Advisory Committee, co-chaired by Health Canada and the Assembly of First Nations. He is currently the president of FNHMA
CFNHM, Vice-President, FNHMA Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer, Bigstone Health Commission
Lorraine Muskwa is the Chief Executive Officer of the Bigstone Health Commission and a proud member of the Bigstone Cree Nation. She has one daughter and 4 grandchildren. Before her employment with Bigstone, Lorraine worked at the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta office in Edmonton for 9 years in a variety of capacities. The work involved assisting 23 First Nations in Northern Alberta on various health issues. The knowledge gained working with the communities, leadership, technicians and Elders has provided Lorraine with the values that she brings to her daily work. Past work also involved Health Director with Peerless Trout First Nation and Operations Manager with Lubicon Lake Band. She was with Bigstone Health Commission previously as the Chief Operating Officer.
The experience and knowledge gained in program planning, health administration and management along with participation at regional and national forums affecting First Nation issues has enhanced her expertise as a health manager.
Since the beginning of her start with Bigstone Health Commission, she has gained skills related to heath management from her mentor, Barry Phillips. Not only the day-to-day operations of Bigstone Health Commission but also with the perspective on the health determinant approach to improving the health of members and communities. Another mentor was her mother. She taught Lorraine that hard work and perseverance would bring strengths to her personally and professionally.
Chair of the Board, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales, Australia
Phillip Naden is a proud Aboriginal descendant of the Gamilaroi people from Northwestern NSW near Coonabarabran. Phil is also a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri people from Peak Hill/Condobolin NSW (Bogan River People).
Phil is well qualified, a panel beater spray-painter by trade, a former sworn Queensland Police Officer, CEO of the largest Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (ATSILS) in Australia, former CEO with Bourke AMS, Bila Muuji Regional Health Consortia and now CEO of Dubbo, Coonamble and Gilgandra Aboriginal Health Service. Phil also Manages a local Gym, Dental Clinic, works in the Out of Home Care Space and operates a Fully functional funeral home.
Additionally, Phil is the Chairperson for the NSW AH&MRC, Chairperson of Dreamtime Housing, a Director the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, Director with Bila Muuji Regional Health, The Rural Doctors Network, and the Justice Reinvestment Project.
He has a Master’s Degree in Business and Management, Justice and Policing, he is a Justice of the Peace.
Phil was an Aboriginal Advisor, Partner Investigator and Researcher on the Lowitja Institute funded National Career Pathways project, and is a published author to this project.
Senior Manager, Education and Training, First Nations Information Governance Centre
Kristine Neglia is the Senior Manager, Education & Training with the First Nations Information Governance Centre. Responsible for education and training activities, Kristine supports First Nations, Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations increase their knowledge and skills related to OCAP®, Information Governance, and First Nations Data Sovereignty.
Prior to FNIGC, Kristine was the Education Specialist for the First Nations Health Managers Association, facilitating the intensive Certified First Nation Health Managers curriculum to health management professionals across Canada.
A member of the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario, Kristine has worked for Indigenous organizations at the local, provincial, and national levels, and is always excited to speak about the First Nations Principles of OCAP®
CFNHM, Vice Chief Executive Officer, Binesiwag Center for Wellness
Mandi is an Indigenous matriarch who grew up in the Treaty 3 Nation. She has worked in the social services field for over 15 years, empowering resilient folx on their healing and wellness journeys.
Mandi is passionate and much of her career has been focused on creating and developing innovative programs and services that are rooted in Indigenous best practices. Mandi also practices as a mental health clinician alongside her wonderful team at Binesiwag Center for Wellness.
Mandi has worked closely to ensure that programs and services connected to 2SLGBTQIAP+ folx are accessible, safe and community driven. She has been a part of the creation of three phenomenal services; Q’s & A’s (Queers and Allies), The Rainbow Connection and Giinawind. Mandi recognizes the importance of establishing intersections between Indigeneity and 2SLGBTQIAP+ folx.
Enhanced Service Coordination Manager, First Nations Health Consortium
Lorinda Patterson has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Calgary with placements in medical social work, and research on environmental impacts within First Nation communities. She is a registered social worker in Alberta and British Columbia with previous work experiences in Social Development on Nation. A strong advocate who embraces a compassionate, anti-oppressive and strengths-based approach in her work with families.
Lorinda joined the First Nations Health Consortium (FNHC) in May 2018 in the Access Worker role and moved into the Regional Service Coordinator position for Calgary-West region before accepting the position of Southern Alberta Team Lead.
In February of 2021, Lorinda transitioned to the Enhanced Service Coordination Manager to provide leadership and direction to FNHC’s Team Leads in supporting day to day operations to ensure the objectives and goals are achieved in a manner which incorporates FNHC’s vision and culture.
Lorinda is honored to continue to support First Nations communities, families, and the children as a member of an incredibly dedicated team.
Senior Advisor, Indigenous Relations, Canadian Red Cross and member of the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation, ON
Danielle Robinson is Ojibway, Turtle Clan from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, a small First Nation on the North shore of Lake Superior. Danielle has a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies and a Master of Public Health that support her in her role as Senior Education Advisor in the Office of Indigenous Relations at the Canadian Red Cross.
Danielle has vast experience in providing consulting on decolonization workshops as well as business strategies to support organizations in meeting their goals for reconciliation and Indigenization.
Danielle’s passion is her creative outlook on the world and working with youth to encourage them to be their best selves.
Social Development Manager, First Nations of Québec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC)
Rosalie Sioui is a Wendat and currently holds the position of Social Development Manager at the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC).
She holds a college diploma in administration as well as a bachelor’s degree in public communication and Indigenous studies. In her role, she supports a team involved in fight against poverty, community engagement, informal caregiving, elder wellness and continuing care. All those files are part of the FNQLHSSC’s mission “to accompany Quebec First Nations in achieving their health, wellness, culture and self-determination goals.”
Chief Executive Officer, Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales, Australia
Robert Skeen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC). Robert has traditional ties to the Gubbi Gubbi of the Queensland Sunshine Coast, Mununjarli of Southeast Queensland, and Waanyi of Northwest Queensland.
Robert has worked in the government and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation sector for almost 25 years, including in organisational leadership roles in the Northern Territory, Queensland, and New South Wales.
He is the co-chair of the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (CAPO) and is also the NSW representative on the Joint Council of National CAPO and has most recently been appointed co-deputy chair of the National Advisory Group for Family, Domestic and Sexual Abuse.
Dr. Esther Tailfeathers
Doctor, Kainai First Nation and Medical Lead for the Population, Public and Indigenous Health Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
Dr. Esther Tailfeathers was born and raised on the Blood Reserve, graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, completed her Family Medicine Residency in Edmonton at the University of Alberta. Dr. Tailfeathers has worked in many Native communities including The Blackfeet Reservation in the Emergency Room, the Blood Reserve for almost 20 years, and has served the remote northern community of Fort Chipewyan. She is currently the Medical Lead for the Indigenous Wellness Core with Alberta Health Services.
She is most proud of organizing a relief mission to Haiti after the earthquake.
Most recently she has worked with her community in response to the Fentanyl Crisis which started in the fall of 2014.
She has recently been working on multiple Primary Care projects including addressing Primary Care in Federal Prisons, with Innovative Health Group working with Correction Services Canada.
Dr. Tailfeathers was the recipient of the Dr. Thomas Dignan National award from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons 2019.
Manager, Indigenous Services Canada
Natacha Tanguay Rankin is Anishnabeg from Pikogan, Quebec.
Natacha has held various positions within the federal government. She has worked in Corrections, Indian and Northern Affairs and Fisheries & Oceans. She was also part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) as Community Relations/Health Care Coordinator and as a Forensic Analyst in Missing Children Cases.
Natacha also held the position of Advisor on Relations with First Nations and Inuit, within the Québec Ombudsman of the Government of Quebec. Natacha is currently manager of the Anti-Indigenous Racism in Health, for Indigenous Services.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts – Social Sciences (Université Laval) and a Master of Public Administration. She also completed two years of a Bachelor’s degree in Criminology (University of Ottawa).
Outreach/Intake Worker, Leading Thunderbird Lodge, SK
Melvin Taypotat is of Cree descent from Kahkewistahaw First Nation in Saskatchewan. Melvin started working with Leading Thunderbird Lodge youth treatment center in 2012, first as a casual Youth Care Worker, then as a full-time Youth Counsellor. Melvin’s current position is as an Outreach/Intake Worker.
In 2014, YSAC brought together a team of First Nation and Inuit treatment centre staff to create the Life is Sacred training program and has been delivering this training program since October 2014. Melvin also has had the opportunity to promote the “Life is Sacred training program” at the last “Healing Our Spirit Worldwide Conference” held in Australia.
Melvin’s passion comes from having lost several friends and family members to suicide. Melvin is an advocate for suicide prevention training as it is Melvin’s hope that this program will help others from experiencing the grief and loss caused by suicide. Melvin’s goal for this suicide prevention training is that all communities, schools, and leadership can take the training to prevent further suicides.
CFNHM, Secretary-Treasurer, FNHMA Board of Directors and Executive Director, Leading Thunderbird Lodge
Patricia Thomson is a grandmother, mother and the Executive Director of Leading Thunderbird Lodge. She holds a Masters in Administration and Leadership from the University of Regina, she is certified First Nations Health Manager and is currently a PhD candidate for Doctorate in Education in Organizational Leadership.
She is the first Indigenous woman to be appointed as Vice Chair of a Crown Investment Corporation. Her leadership has been recognized by invitations to participate in the 2012 Governor General Leadership conference and to be one 5 Indigenous women panelists chosen to speak at the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Patricia has gathered a wealth of knowledge throughout her career, the diversity of her background that is founded in her Traditional and Cultural upbringing. This combination gives her the ability to provide advice, guidance and expertise that is built on a foundation of a cultural upbringing knowledge gained from working within community, organizations, provincial and federal departments.
Donna Van Tunen
Housing Manager, Witset First Nation, BC
Donna VanTunen is from Witset B.C formally known as Moricetown and is the Housing Manager at Witset First Nation.
Donna started as a housing intern in 2018 and immediately started taking housing courses. Donna completed the First Nations Housing Manager program at the Vancouver Island University’s and subsequently became a housing manager in 2020.
Donna recently completed the First Nations Housing Professionals Association’s Program and received the FNHP designation and has worked in the housing department for 4 years.
Donna feels that housing plays a big role in their community and is always looking to acquire more knowledge on housing.
Dr. Maddie Venables
PhD, Senior Research Associate and Academic Research Advisor, Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa
Dr. Maddie Venables is an Academic Research Advisor and Senior Research Associate for the research arm of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa.
Dr. Venables holds a PhD in Biology and is currently seeking a Masters of Health Administration from the University of Ottawa.
Dr. Venables supports faculty and residents with their research and scholarly work. Her research interests lie in primary care and medical education.
Education Specialist, First Nations Health Managers Association
Selena Willier Schmidt has been working in First Nations health for over 20 years. She grew up throughout northern Alberta and has put down some roots in St. Albert, Alberta where she and her husband are raising their three school-aged sons.
Her diverse career includes working for First Nation organizations at the local and regional level, as well as the federal government (FNIHB), during which time she has had experience working on a multitude of health files. With a formal background in mental health, she’s been particularly interested in improving mental health programming and services for First Nation people.
Now, as the Education Specialist with the First Nations Health Managers Association, she has the privilege of facilitating learning with community health workers across Canada.
Associate Professor, Public Health, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University
Lloy Wylie is currently an Associate Professor in the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University,and runs the Health Equity Action Research Team.
Lloy leads a number of research projects in Indigenous health and provides expertise in equity for health professional education and organizational change in both the health care and educational sectors. Her program of research focuses on health systems, policy and service innovations.
Through partnering with First Nations communities to develop a vision for health care that meets their needs, her research emphasizes bringing community voices to inform locally specific curriculum and training materials for health care providers and trainees.
Lloy teaches public health and medicine, including simulations in emergency preparedness and disaster response.