Indigenous Nurses Day 2021
May 14, 2021
On May 14 we celebrate Indigenous Nurses Day. Indigenous Nurses Day highlights the achievements of Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses and recognizes their invaluable work improving the health and well-being of Canadians.
Edith Anderson Monture was the first Indigenous registered nurse in Canada. Born in 1890 in Six Nations of the Grand River, the Mohawk woman struggled to be accepted to a Canadian nursing school as First Nations faced involuntary enfranchisement (loss of Indian status) for pursuing higher education. Instead, she studied in New York where she completed her degree in 1914. She worked as a public health nurse and volunteered for duty as a nursing sister in World War I before eventually returning to Six Nations where she continued to work as a nurse and midwife until the 1960s. Monture is considered a pioneer in Indigenous healthcare in Canada.
Supporting access to high-quality health care for all means supporting and recognizing the unique experiences of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses in our union. ONA strives to create space and support for our Indigenous members through the Members of Indigenous Descent Caucus Group, which meets at our Human Rights and Equity Caucus each year.
ONA member Susan Archibald shared her personal experiences as an Indigenous woman facing discrimination in the health-care system with the team. Her story had such an impact it was instrumental in developing the 2017 Human Rights and Equity Caucus theme, We Need to Talk: Understanding the Reality of Stereotyping. Archibald also shared her experiences in the broader context of the stereotyping of Canada’s Indigenous peoples to Caucus delegates with her counselor Trish Meekins.
Check out the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association's (CINA) Twitter account for the latest news and issues impacting Canada's Indigenous nurses and the health-care system. You can also visit their website.
Visit the Canadian Nurses Association website for resources and information on Indigenous Health in Canada.
ONA is committed to being an inclusive and equitable organization that recognizes membership diversity. Visit our Human Rights & Equity webpage to learn about the work being done by our Human Rights & Equity Team, contact team members, and to access valuable resources.