Skip to main content
Medicine LibreTexts

4.7: Summary

  • Page ID

    Nurse leaders need to learn to work effectively within Indigenous communities and with Indigenous leaders. The first step is to be open and willing to understand Indigenous worldviews. This understanding requires nurses to acknowledge the history of Indigenous people in Canada and how the leadership and decision-making structures in Indigenous communities are unique. Finally, with an openness to working with Indigenous leaders and community members, nurses can build respectful, ethical, and meaningful relationships that will ultimately benefit the health of all people.

    After completing this chapter, you should now be able to:

    1. Identify the differences between your own worldviews and Indigenous worldviews.
    2. Critique how different worldviews affect leadership decisions.
    3. Recognize Indigenous leadership structures within Indigenous communities.
    4. Describe the advantages of working with Indigenous community members.


    1. Imagine yourself as a non-Indigenous leader who wants to effect a change in an Indigenous community. Read Ermine’s (2007) concept of ethical space and discuss with your classmates how you would respectfully negotiate the work that you want to do with the community leadership team.
    2. Read the Executive Summary of the CIHR Guidelines for Health Research Involving Aboriginal People (2007–2010) and explore and discuss with your classmates how the 15 articles in the document can be applied to a leadership setting.
    3. In the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s summary of its final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future, locate the section on health (pp. 205-211) and discuss with your classmates how you can make these calls to action come alive in your future work as a nurse leader.
    4. Research how many treaties exist in Canada. Which treaty had negotiated the treaty right to health?


    Adelson, N. (2000). Re-imagining Aboriginality: An Indigenous peoples’ response to social suffering. Transcutural Psychiatry, 37(1), 11–34.

    Barlow, J. K. (2009). Residential schools, prisons, and HIV/AIDS among Aboriginal people in Canada: Exploring the connections. Ottawa: Aboriginal Healing Foundation.

    Campbell, T. D. (2014). A clash of paradigms? Western and Indigenous views on health research involving Aboriginal people. Nurse Researcher, 21(6), 39–43.

    Canadian Institutes of Health Research [CIHR]. (2007). CIHR Guidelines for health research involving Aboriginal people. Ottawa: Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

    Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Comack, E. (2008). Out there/in here: Masculinity, violence, and prisoning. Halifax, NS & Winnipeg, MB: Fernwood.

    Ermine, W. (2007). The ethical space of engagement. Indigenous Law Journal, 6(1), 193–203.

    Felicity, J. (1999). Native Indian leadership. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 23(1), 40–57.

    First Nations Centre. (2007). OCAP: Ownership, control, access and possession. Sanctioned by the First Nations Information Governance Committee, Assembly of First Nations. Ottawa, ON: National Aboriginal Health Organization.

    Johnson, B. M., & Webber, P. B. (2015). An Introduction to Theory and Reasoning in Nursing (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters.

    Julien, M., Wright, B., & Zinni, D. M. (2010). Stories from the circle: Leadership lessons from aboriginal leaders. The Leadership Quaterly, 21, 114–126.

    Kaakinen, J. R., Coehlo, D. P., Steele, R., Tabacco, A., & Hanson, S. M. H. (2014). Family health care nursing. Theory, practice and research (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

    King, M., Smith, A., & Gracey, M. (2009). Indigenous health part 2: The underlying causes of the health gap. Lancet, 374, 76–85.

    Laliberte, R. F., Settee, P., Waldram, J. B., Innes, R., Macdougall, B., McBain, L., & Barron, F. L. (Eds.). (2000). Expressions in Canadian Native studies. Saskatoon, SK: University Extension Press.

    Lavoie, J. G., O’Neil, J., Sanderson, L., Elias, B., Mignone, J., Bartlett, J., Forget, E., Burton, R., Schmeichel, C., & MacNeil, D. (2005). The Evaluation of the First Nations and Inuit Health Transfer Policy. Retrieved from

    National Health and Welfare & Treasury Board of Canada. (1989). Memorandum of Understanding between the Minister of National Health and Welfare and the Treasury Board concerning the Transfer of Health Services to Indian Control. Ottawa: Government of Canada.

    Nichols, L. A. (2004). Native American nurse leadership. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 15(3), 177–183.

    Office of the Treaty Commissioner. (2000). The Five treaties in Saskatchewan: An historical overview. In R. F. Laliberte, P. Settee, J. B. Waldram, R. Innes, B. Macdougall, L. McBain, & F. L. Barron (Eds.), Expressions in Canadian Native studies (pp. 232–264). Saskatoon, SK: University Extension Press.

    Patterson, M., Jackson, R., & Edwards, N. (2006). Ethics in Aboriginal research: Comments on paradigms, process and two worlds. Canadian Journal of Aboriginal Community-Based HIV/AIDS Research, 1, 48–61.

    Ramsden, V., Rabbitskin, N., Westfall, J., Felzien, M., Braden, J., & Sand, J. (2017). Is knowledge translation without patient or community engagement flawed? Family Practice, 34(3), 259–261.

    Reading, J., Kmetic, A., & Gideon, V. (2007). First Nations Wholistic Policy and Planning Model. Discussion Paper for the World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health.

    Sasakamoose, J., Bellegarde, T., Sutherland, W., Pete, S., & McKay-McNabb, K. (2017). Miýo-pimātisiwin Developing Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Theory (ICRT): Improving Indigenous Health and Well-Being. The International Indigenous Policy Journal, 8(4), 1–16.

    Smith, R. & Lavoie, J. G. (2008). First Nations Health Networks: A Collaborative System Approach to Health Transfer. Healthcare Policy, 4(2), 101-112.

    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council [SSHRC]. (2015). Aboriginal research statement of principles. Retrieved from

    Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. (2015). Honouring the truth, reconciling for the future: Summary of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Retrieved from

    Waldram, J., Herring, D., & Young, T. (2006). Aboriginal Health in Canada: Historical, Cultural, and Epidemiological Perspective. University of Toronto Press.

    Wolfgramm, R., Spiller, C., & Voyageur, C. (2016). Special issue: Indigenous leadership—Editor’s introduction. Leadership, 12(3), 263–69.