Agenda Item Details
Day 1   Wednesday Oct 9, 2019
8:15 - 9:45am
Connecting Indigenous Communities and Cultural Care
Presented By:

Dr. James Makokis, MD, B.Sc, M.H.Sc.

Family Physician

Saddle Lake First Nation

Northern Alberta


Graham Chance Memorial Perinatal Lecture

Presenter's Background

Indigenous Rights, LGBTQ2, First Nation Health, First Nations Relations Expert


Dr. James Makokis is a proud Cree from the Saddle Lake First Nation in Northern Alberta. James received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Nutrition and Food Sciences from University of Alberta and holds a Masters of Health Science (M.H.Sc.) in Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto. Dr. James Makokis also holds Doctorate in Medicine (M.D) from the University of Ottawa. Dr. James Makokis received certification from the Aboriginal Family Medicine Training Program, University of British Columbia.

James is truly unique. Outside of his upbringing and his education,  he had many noteworthy experiences along the way. From traveling alongside former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a diplomatic mission to Brazil, to  clowning with Dr. Patch Adams in the Amazon Jungle, James takes every opportunity to expand his horizons. He is even committed to expanding others as well. In fact, from 2007-2009 James served as the National Spokesperson for the National Aboriginal Health Organization’s “Lead Your Way” National Aboriginal Role Model Program.  He also completed a half-Ironman competition all while completing his Doctorate in Medicine Degree.

In keeping with this adventurous spirit, James Makokis married his husband, Anthony Johnson, while they both ran the 2017 BMO Harris Vancouver Marathon, taking a short pause along the route in English Bay to say “I do, at km 32.” They then completed the race as a married couple, the first couple to do so in the marathon’s history. As a proud member of the LGBTQ2S community, James has experienced the same bullying sexually and gender diverse youth continue to endure. As a result of the support of his parents and community, he overcame these challenges to succeeded beyond society’s expectations. James Makokis has maintained his faith in Indigenous values and culture throughout his struggles.

It was through his connection to Cree ceremonies and the support of the Indigenous community that helped him overcome these adversities and reclaim his space as a member of the Two-spirit Q-mmunity.  Two-spirit is a contemporary term describing gender and sexual diversity in Indigenous Communities. More importantly recognizing the acceptance of LGBTQ2 peoples within part of Indigenous societies in contrast to western culture.  Dr. Makokis has a strong interest in addressing the inequities within the LGBTQ2S space. His clinical practice focuses on serving the needs of Transgender peoples. In fact, he is one of the few physicians in Canada who facilitates the wellness of Trans people as a result of administering hormone replacement therapy.

Dr. James Makokis is an active volunteer and currently serves on several boards including the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health at the University of Toronto, and McEwan University’s Indigenous Advisory Council.  He was formerly the co-chair of the inaugural Indigenous Wisdom Council of Alberta Health Services, board member of Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation), revived and led the Two Spirit Circle of Edmonton Society, and served in the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. James is also the recipient of the 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Special Youth Award. This is the highest formal recognition bestowed upon individual from Indigenous communities.

As a doctor, national presenter, and proud member of the LGBTQ2S and First Nation community, Dr. James Makokis offers a truly unique perspective when audiences hear his story. Not only are his stories humourous and insightful, they highlight the high caliber of his character and celebrate triumph over adversity. Above all, using his education and experiences to enlighten us on health access and health treatment strategies for Aboriginals in Canada.

Few individuals can offer such a diverse and rich perspective on personal struggle. He is passionate to educate others on many issues including; inequality, indigenous values, colonialism, community segregation and community building. His perspective is one that benefits all Canadians. His story is compelling. James tells it like it is and does not shy away from the truth. He is down to earth, honest, factual and most qualified to share his unique indigenous perspective with Canadians. As a result, James can identify the problematic history, current state and futures of First Nation groups in Canada. He will deliver a messages of where we were, how we got here and where we need to go as a country.

^ Back to Top