CNF Indigenous Award – PhD
My name is Leanne Poitras Kelly, and I am a Metis nurse originally from Saskatchewan’s Qu’appelle Valley, currently living and working on the unceded and occupied territory of the Coast Salish people of Vancouver Island. My father is Alex Poitras and my mother is Rose Amyotte, both of whom are from long lines of Metis families dating back for generations. I state this with pride as I honor my lineage and reclaim my position in the landscape of our country. I am married and have two young adult sons.
I have been a registered nurse for over thirty years, having graduated in 1989 from the University of Saskatchewan. Initially I applied to the nursing program because I needed to secure a livelihood I could count on. My progression through the program however, opened a world to me that I would never have imagined. I was able to find ways to resist western domination through connecting with Indigenous peoples and communities and to learn both how to be a professional nurse while integrating community knowledge and honoring my own identity. I have worked mainly in First Nations communities for my entire career and have mentored undergraduate students as part of my role. My recent move to teaching at UVIC and undertaking my own PhD studies has allowed me to reflect deeply on what makes a nurse able to connect across difference and what challenges their practice. I hope to continue supporting nurses to engage in social change.