Program & Level: Health Science Level II
Prior to attending McMaster, I lived in Belleville, Ontario, a city neighbouring the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. I was therefore always surrounded by Indigenous culture and tradition, but had never taken the time to learn more deeply about these values. And so, during my first year at McMaster, I looked to join the Indigenous Health Movement in hopes of learning more about this integral part of my community identity. Throughout the year, I received the amazing opportunity to be surrounded by equally as amazing individuals, all passionate about contemporary and traditional topics of Indigenous health. I came to learn of the Indigenous community surrounding McMaster, and some of the impactful work being undertaken there.
However, I also had to come to terms with my own assumptions and lack of knowledge as a settler on this land. Equally as frustrating was the absence of Indigenous voices within my own formal education. And so, I continue to be a part of IHM today not only to help others learn, but also to learn myself about the first peoples of this land.
This year’s conference will involve discussions surrounding climate change in the context of Indigenous health. Canada’s Indigenous people have long been stewards of this land; not only does climate change put their traditional practices at risk, but these traditions also serve as a model for Canada on how we can strive towards a more sustainable future. I am truly looking forward to the opportunity to come together with others, and engage in these challenging, yet critical, discussions!