Skip to main content

Grand Chief Akile Ch’oh Edward John shares his experience with the “Silent Killer”

​​Did you know that the "Silent Killer," or a silent heart attack, can happen with few or no obvious symptoms? People often misinterpret warning signs or mistake them for something else like indigestion, flu or anxiety.  It was a night last May when Grand Chief Edward John, Akile Ch'oh (Tl'azt'en Nation) woke up​ thinking he was having indigestion after a late dinner. He was actually having a heart attack. "The silent killer, I'm told, is what I had. What that means is that it shows no classic symptoms of a heart attack and people if they go to sleep they just simply never wake up."

Symptoms of a silent heart attack – if they present at all – can also be experienced differently in men and women, and can be ​affected if you have diabetes. Silent heart attacks often occur at night as people sleep, and Indigenous people, both men and women, are at higher risk for heart attacks and other forms of cardiovascular disease, including strokes, than the rest of the population.

Reflecting on his experience and recovery, Edward John shares, "Every day is a blessing for me….The biggest thing that individuals should do is make sure that they're checked.  Don't leave it to another day."

Learn more about Grand Chief Edward John's personal story by watching this video. Both he and Professor Jeff Reading, Haudenosaunee (Tyendinega Mohawk Nation) talk about the importance of establishing a relationship with a health care provider and getting regular health checks – they could save your life!


If you see someone having a sudden cardiac arrest, you can help by following these three simple steps:

​• Call 911

• Do CPR

•​ ​Use an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)

You can also help save a life if you are trained in CPR. Get the PulsePoint Respond App for alerts, so you can aid someone in distress until first responders arrive. ​Find out more here: or download the app Download the PulsePoint Respond App.

Stay up to date! Join our mailing list to get updates, news and events emailed to you.

Sign up

There was an error subscribing you. Please try again later.

You are now subscribed!