Porcupine Podcast

Porcupine Podcast

Addressing the Indigenous Health Gap: Reconciliation Through Bridging Western and Indigenous Medicines

May 19, 2021

Nicole Redvers walked into the wrong lecture at the University of Lethbridge and it changed her life. Now, as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, she works to help heal using traditional Indigenous medicine and Western medicine.

Why You Should Listen

The Indigenous approach to medicine focuses on guidance and healing while Western medicine focuses on solutions. This episode highlights how reconciliation in Indigenous health helps people heal in a safe, supportive way, across Canada and around the world. In addition, it demonstrates the need for change to address TRC Calls to Action around Indigenous health.

About Our Guest

Dr. Nicole Redvers is a doctor of naturopathic medicine. She is a member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation in the NWT and is currently an assistant professor at the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences. She also co-developed the first Indigenous Health PhD degree program in North America.

She is co-founder and chair of the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation based in the Canadian North. The foundation was awarded the million-dollar 2017 Arctic Inspiration Prize for their work with vulnerable populations within land-based healing settings in the Northwest Territories. 

Dr. Redvers also authored the trade paperback book titled, ‘The Science of the Sacred: Bridging Global Indigenous Medicine Systems and Modern Scientific Principles.’  

On an international level, she actively promotes the inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in planetary health and education for sustainable health care. Her scholarly work engages a breadth of scholarly projects attempting to bridge gaps between Indigenous and Western ways in regards to individual, community, and planetary health.

 Read Nicole’s full bio on University of North Dakota

Nicole Says:

On a her decision to return to her home in Canada to practise Indigenous medicine and traditional healing  

>> 04:00: I was sitting in the airport in Edmonton on my way back after about six months in Africa. There was this older Dene woman—her knee was in a lot of pain. I went over and helped her get up, and just had this flash of awareness—I was going all over the world to work but where I was really needed was at home. So I made a very acute decision at that point to come back home to the North.

On racism in Canadian health care  

>> 05:20 The main fundamental piece is structural issues within the health system that make it not a safe and trusting place for many Indigenous Peoples due to the historical trauma that have existed in the territory from colonization. I remember being in Fort Resolution and seeing one of the ladies with a bent finger with a wrapping around it. She said, “Oh, you know, I think it’s broken.” I said, “Oh, well, did you go to the nursing station?” And she said, “No, no, I’m not going on the nursing station. I’d rather just deal with it myself.” Again, another moment of realization where people are willing to suffer and be at home rather than go and seek support. We still have major issues that we need to deal with in the North and in the rest of Canada, and even the world. That thought process led to a serendipitous gathering of Elders and deciding that we needed to do something different. A few of us created the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation.