Joanna Fraser

Joanna Fraser PictureI became a community nurse over 30 years ago with the desire to promote social justice and wellness within Indigenous populations. My interest in the complex issues of discrimination and colonization were piqued at an early age in part by my family’s experiences during the independence movement in Kenya East Africa. I spent the first 15 years of my career working as a community nurse in the North end of Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii B.C., where I gained a deep appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of Indigenous people.

Later, when I began my teaching career in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at North Island College, I was asked to develop a course in Indigenous health. As a non-indigenous person I took a collaborative approach. This led to founding the Learning Circles for Aboriginal Nursing; a collaboration of working professionals and nursing educators engaged in contributing to the wellness of Vancouver Island’s Indigenous people. Since then, the nursing elective has developed into an immersion field school experience located in the remote communities of the Wuikinuxv and Dzawada’enuxw Nations. The field school experience is developed in collaboration with Elders and community members using Indigenous protocols and ceremonies for learning. Participants, institutions and the communities involved with the field school have reported that it is transformational. Through my doctoral research, I hope to share the work I have done in a way that is useful to others who want to promote change and wellness for indigenous communities