Indigenous Nurses Day (May 6)

On the first day of National Nursing Week, we celebrate Indigenous Nurses Day.

Indigenous Nurses Day acknowledges the dedication and achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses and recognizes their invaluable work in improving the health and well-being of all people in Canada.

Indigenous nurses play a vital role in the health care system, providing culturally relevant care in communities across the province.

In honour of Indigenous Nurses Day, we would like to highlight the achievements of Indigenous nurses and their home communities. The expertise and dedication of Indigenous nurses have made an impact on the lives of many patients and their families, not only inspiring others but also raising awareness of the role that Indigenous nurses play in promoting wellness and healing for Indigenous communities.

Thank you to the Indigenous nurses who work tirelessly to provide exceptional care to the people of Northwestern Ontario.

Martina White was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Martina and her family are from Pays Plat First Nation. Some of her happiest memories as a child are of her family and being in the outdoors.

Since Martina was a young age, she knew she wanted to have a job helping people. During middle school, her class went to a long-term care home and she was moved by the experience. “The way we were able to put smiles on their faces, just by talking to them and reminiscing, I knew that this was what I wanted to do,” said Martina.

Martina graduated as a Registered Practical Nursing in 2018. Following graduation, Martina worked in long-term care for five years, “some of my best memories are from those years and I will cherish those memories forever,” Martina continued.

In January, Martina accepted a job at Anishnawbe Mushkiki as an Indigenous Care Coordinator for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. After seeing the effects on the Indigenous population in long-term care, Martina knew she would love being a part of supporting and advocating for Indigenous people during their hospital stay, and assisting with their discharge home. “These transitions are very difficult for most and I love to make the transition as easy as possible,” said Martina.


Naomi Sinclair was born in Princeton, BC, to her father, who is of Cree descent, and her mother, who is of Ukrainian descent. Naomi’s community is York Factory First Nation, Manitoba. At the age of 10, her family relocated to Thunder Bay, ON, to be closer to family.

Naomi says, “It was my compassionate heart and desire to help others that inspired me to pursue a career as a Registered Practical Nurse.” After graduating from the Registered Practical Nursing (RPN) program at Confederation College in 2014, Naomi’s hard work and dedication gave her the opportunity to be a RPN in the Emergency Department at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. “As I worked in our fast-paced ER, I began to develop an interest in the field of mental health and addictions. In 2018, I joined the Adult Mental Health Team,” said Naomi.

Working as an Indigenous RPN has allowed Naomi to become more aware of the difficulties that Indigenous Peoples encounter in the hospital environment. “I see the importance of providing culturally sensitive care which is essential to helping our Indigenous peoples feel safe and respected,” said Naomi.


Nikkita Michano is from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation. “I am very proud to be an Indigenous Nurse, and hopefully a role model to Indigenous youth,” says Nikkita.


Cyanne Sandau is a 23-year-old Practical Nursing student at Oshki-Wenjack. She has lived in  Thunder Bay all her life, but her community is Constance Lake First Nation. Education and forging meaningful connections are some of Cyanne’s passions. Nursing isn’t just a career choice for her; it’s a deep calling to support others during their most vulnerable times. Cyanne has always felt drawn to healthcare, especially the personal, one-on-one patient interactions. While working as PSW, she realized that she wanted to deepen her understanding and involvement in patient care. Cyanne says, “Nursing offers me the opportunity to be a trusted companion on each person’s healthcare journey, providing not just medical expertise but also emotional support, reassurance, and hope. I cherish the deep connections I form with patients, understanding their fears, joys, and dreams of striving to ensure they receive the best care possible.” Cyanne love seeing patients beyond their ailments and witnessing their resilience and progress. “Nursing is about making a meaningful difference and being part of a profession that values compassion, resilience, and dedication to health. It’s a challenging yet profoundly rewarding journey that reaffirms my choice every day,” Cyanne adds.


Claudette is a nursing student at Oshki-Wenjack. “The reason I wants to be a nurse is because it’s a much-needed profession. I want to help those in need. Helping people to understand what takes place within the hospital. The Nurse is the middleman that links the doctor with the patient,” says Claudette. In addition, Claudette says that helping to be the cure or the crutch is such a happy feeling.


Shalon Adams lives Kenora Ontario with her family. Her home community is Big Grassy First Nation. Nursing provides Shalon the opportunity to interact and provide care to patients on a deeper level. “Connection is such an important thing. I hope to work in home care, contributing to a patient’s safe return to their community, and home environment,” says Shalon.