On Sunday, April 10, BC will celebrate the inaugural BC Indigenous Nurses Day to honour and thank the contributions of Indigenous nurses to health care throughout our history.
Image via Veterans Affairs Canada
The day coincides with the birth date of Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture (April 10, 1890), the first Indigenous person in Canada to become a registered nurse. From the Mohawk tribe in Ohsweken, Ontario, Monture attended nursing school in the United States because of the racist and colonial attitudes that barred her access to nursing schools in Canada.
At the time Monture sought to become a nurse, policies enacted by the government of Canada would have revoked her Indian status. She went on to graduate from Rochelle Nursing School in New York in 1914, and later served in World War 1 as a nurse caring for wounded soldiers.
Today, many Indigenous people have followed in Monture's bold footsteps to become a nurse and help those most in need.
“We raise our hands to all of our First Nations, Métis and Inuit Nurse colleagues who make a difference in the lives of so many, every single day, working tirelessly to improve and transform the health care system to meet the needs of Indigenous Communities," said Dr. Becky Palmer, FNHA Chief Nursing Officer. “I invite everyone to take time on April 10 to honour the contributions of Indigenous nurses, and to thank them for championing a system that embraces traditional approaches and ensures culturally safe accessible care."
National nursing organizations and leaders of Indigenous health across the province of BC are collectively hosting and supporting a virtual Indigenous Nurses Day in BC on Sunday, April 10 and Monday, April 11.
This online celebration includes a webinar with nurse speakers, a video highlight of Indigenous nurses across Canada, and a Sharing Circle and gift presentation for Monture's family.
“This special day is to promote the recognition of our past, present, and future Indigenous nurses," said Dr. Palmer. “All are welcome to participate and show solidarity with Canada's Indigenous nurses in all levels of healthcare."
Please register for the virtual event here: https://www.tru.ca/nursing/indigenous-nursing/ihnrs/inhr-virtual-webinar-series.html