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Indigenous Land-Based Health Session

 Nehiyô miyopimatisiwin, kiskinwahamakosiyan ekwa matotisân – Cree Health, learning, and sweatlodge, is a unique offering for CAEP24 specifically designed for Canadian Emergency Physicians and Trainees. This session provides a vital foundation for those seeking to practice culturally sensitive care and to contribute to closing health outcome gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. This session specifically addresses the National Truth and Reconciliation Commissions Calls to Action 18, 22 and 24.




This one-credit-per-hour Assessment program has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Saskatchewan Chapter for up to 6 Mainpro+ credits.

This activity is an Accredited Simulation Activity (Section 3) as defined by the Maintenance of Certification program of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and approved by Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. You may claim a maximum of 6 hours (credits are automatically calculated).


Indigenous Health Land based Learning Session (June 10, 2024)

Course title:  Nehiyô miyopimatisiwin, kiskinwahamakosiyan ekwa matotisân – Cree Health, learning, and sweatlodge

Location:  Land in close proximity to Saskatoon (transportation will be provided)

Indigenous facilitators:  Dr. James Makokis (Nehiyô), Anthony Johnson (Diné)

Course fee:  $420

Transportation, food and facilitator fees are courtesy of the University of Saskatchewan.

Note: Typically there are no charges to attend ceremony, anyone is welcome. However given that CAEP believes in equity in compensation for Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous knowledge holders, all registration fees will cover the costs of hosting this event. In part of our relationship building and steps towards reconciliation we believe that we cannot continue to rely on the free labour of Indigenous Peoples.


Learning Objectives:

After the sessions, participants will be able to:

  • Understand of Nehiyô Natural Law, Treaty and the Treaty Obligation to universal health care (“Medicine Chest”) , as it relates to Kihci Asotamatowin Nikotwasihk (The Great Promise of Treaty Number Six – agreed to in 1876) and how it is relevant today.
  • Appreciate the importance and complexity of Indigenous medicines and healing practices for Indigenous Peoples, and their role in treatment alongside Western Medicine practices.
  • Understand the historical and ongoing barriers for Indigenous people to practice their healing traditions
  • Reflect on their learning and understanding of Indigenous health, and their role in advocacy for inclusion within modern Settler/Colonial medical systems.



Brief Course Description:

This session offers Emergency Medicine Physicians/Residents the opportunity to participate in “Land-based Indigenous education” outside of the academy, as taught by Indigenous Elders and Scholars, in an Indigenous setting that promotes Indigenous strengths-based learning. This session will deepen participants’ understanding of Indigenous cultures, history and health needs.

This is an interactive, immersive and experiential session, which will take place outside and offsite. Transportation from the conference site will be provided. Participants will have the privilege of participating in a Cree Sweat Lodge ceremony.  The session will include Indigenous-led teachings on the Treaty Right to Health and Indigenous Healing Practices.

The goal is to foster and develop culturally safe care practices amongst the EM community and to empower participants to better address health inequities faced by Indigenous patients, to offer patient centred care that considers the unique perspectives of Indigenous peoples, and to empower participants to be agents of positive change within their own local settings.

This course is suited to an Emergency Physician who wishes to deepen their understanding of Indigenous health and to practice with greater cultural sensitivity and safety. It may be of particular interest to department leaders and residency educators (program directors, curriculum lead) who are working to improve Indigenous Health education and learning offerings within their programs.

This session is entirely Indigenous led and designed, and will be taught by an Indigenous Elder and Knowledge Keeper, and facilitated by Dr. James Makokis, a Cree two-spirit CCFP trained physician and Dr. Jaspreet Khangura, a FRCPC trained emergency physician.



Intentions & Cultural Sensitivity:

Reflect on your personal intentions for the ceremony ahead of time. Try to be mindful of cultural protocols, such as respecting the sacred space and following the guidance of the Indigenous ceremonial leaders.

If you are experiencing any respiratory or COVID symptoms the day of the Sweat lodge, please do not participate.




  1. What does a sweat lodge ceremony involve?
    The ceremony typically includes multiple rounds of prayers, songs, and the pouring of water over hot stones to create steam. It is conducted in a dome shaped lodge made out of willows and covered with tarps and blankets. The door is closed during a round. The participants may enter and exit the lodge between rounds for breaks and to cool down if needed. 
  1. Can I leave the sweat lodge mid-session if I feel uncomfortable?
    Try to sit and work through any discomfort that arises, this is part of the experience. However, if you are feeling unwell or overwhelmed, you can of course exit the ceremony space and continue to listen outside the sweat lodge.
  1. Can I participate if I am pregnant?
    If you feel comfortable doing so.
  1. Can I participate if I am on my “moon time” (menstrual cycle)?
    You will be asked to sit with sage. 
  1. Can I bring a camera or recording device?
    Recording devices and cameras are usually not permitted out of respect for the sacredness of the ceremony.



Session Schedule (subject to change)

12:30          Departure from TCU Place, Main Entrance

13:00          Participants arrive from the conference site, light lunch provided.

13:30           Welcome from Indigenous Physician Facilitator (Dr. Makokis). CAEP representative(s) will provide tobacco and gift offering to Elder and Knowledge Keeper, as well as the oskapewis (helper(s)).

13:45           Opening Prayer by Elder followed by Opening Circle by all participants

14:15           Introduction to Sweat Lodge Ceremony

14:45          Sweat Lodge Ceremony Begins with rounds interspersed with teachings. Teachings will include:

      • Treaty Teachings including Treaty Obligation to Health
      • Nehiyô Natural Law teachings
      • Indigenous Medicine/Medicine System Teachings (possible sharing of some Nehiyaw Maskihkiya – medicines for participants to see)

16:30           Closing Circle

17:15           Estimated end and departure from site