“When I was learning medicine, I always looked at it through a Cree lens and Cree world view”

Dr. James Makokis

Indigenous Rights Advocate | Aboriginal Health Expert | First Nations Leader

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.  He also obtained a Masters in Health Science (M.H.Sc.) in Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto. James then acquired a Doctorate in Medicine (M.D) from the University of Ottawa. Dr. James Makokis also has certification from the Aboriginal Family Medicine Training Program, University of British Columbia.

James is a rarity of some sorts and is truly unique. Not only is he one of the few people to have attained such great heights with his formal education, he did it while having many adventures along the way. From having traveled alongside the former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a diplomatic mission to Brazil. He also clowned alongside Dr. Patch Adams on a humanitarian mission in the Amazon Jungle. Dr. James Makokis also served as the National Spokesperson for the National Aboriginal Health Organization’s “Lead Your Way” National Aboriginal Role Model Program; he even completed a half-Ironman all while in medical school.

James suffered the constant agonizing bullying of his peers throughout his life, as a proud member of the LGBT community. With the support of his parents and community, he overcame the challenges and succeeded beyond everyone’s expectations. James has also 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. It was in these ceremonies where Dr. Makokis discovered himself as a “Two Spirited Person”. Two-spirit is the contemporary term in Indigenous communities that describes gender diversity, and celebrates the uniqueness that one can possess more than one gender during their life.

Dr. James Makokis is an active volunteer and currently serves on several boards including, the inaugural Aboriginal Wisdom Committee of Alberta Health Services, Indspire (formerly the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation), the Two Spirit Circle of Edmonton Society, and the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada. James is also the recipient of the 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Special Youth Award, the highest recognition placed on an individual of the Indigenous community in the new Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba; you will find a segment on James and his partner, Robert.

As a doctor, national presenter and a proud member of the LGBT community, James offers a truly unique perspective when audiences hear his story.  James is humourous, has a strong mind and will, and has is a character like no other. His first-hand experience of the affects from the history of aboriginal discourses in Canada provide insight into the marginalization of “others” through Canadian cultural values.

He assumed his mother’s career choice as a doctor and like his mother became a leader and role model amongst many peoples of First Nations. There is truly nobody who can offer such a diverse and rich perspective on personal struggle, overcoming the impossible, inequality, indigenous values, assimilation, colonialism, community segregation and community building. His perspective is one that benefits Canadians. His story is compelling. James tells it like it is and does not shy away from the truth. He is honest, factual and most qualified to share his unique indigenous perspective with Canadians.

We are lucky to be able to listen to his stories, experiences, vision and advice.

Because James is a practicing Doctor, he needs considerable lead-time to present. Please keep this in mind when booking Dr. James Makokis.

Topic Presentations

Dr. Makokis can present a keynote and a workshop on the subject of Truth and Reconciliation as it relates to health, housing, education, mental health, access to health services, nutrition, drug abuse, addictions and family violence. As in every one of his presentations, Dr. James will explain the traditions and culture of Aboriginal roots and how they guide him daily in his practice and in his life.

James can address these topics alone or with his Mom, Patricia Makokis, Ed.D, or with his sister Janice Makokis, LLB, M.A, an Indigenous Governance consultant from Edmonton. Together they compose a formidable team to impress audiences everywhere.

Because James is a practicing Doctor, he needs considerable lead-time to present. Please keep this in mind when booking Dr. James Makokis.

We all have a lot to learn from Indigenous Peoples. Some of the values that we hold so dearly regarding Canada's respect for nature and the environment are found and sometimes founded in Indigenous culture and traditions. We also have much to learn from traditional Indigenous medicine.  The reverence of elders holds many truths and wisdom beyond belief.

Learn about how Indigenous culture helped James achieve extra-ordinary success.

James is two-spirited. He is gay. Learn how he overcame bullying, the insults, abuse and the cruelty that afflicted him throughout his teenage years.  He surmounted many obstacles and with the guidance of his Cree culture, his mom and dad, he not only succeeded but excelled in education and he has now become a respected member of his community as a Family Doctor.  His example has already served  to inspire many both within and without his First Nation.

James was also discriminated against as a student studying to become a Medical Doctor.  He suffered through the slurs, slights and name-calling for many years. He still has to defend himself against them today.

It's a compelling story of triumph over defeat. Against all odds, James succeeded beyond everyone's expectations.  How did he do it? What was his inner source of strength and resilience?

We can all learn something special from James.

Young Indigenous people are committing suicide at a much higher rate than their white counterparts. Young men spend way to too long incarcerated. Young indigenous women are most often rapped and murdered in modern Canadian cities. Addictions are rampant and many Indigenous youth have given up on living a good life.

Residential schools have damaged the ability of many Indigenous people to parent and care for their young. Poverty, poor housing, inferior education systems and inaccessible health care are also an impediment to success.

James presents a message of hope to all those who care to listen. Young Indigenous people can achieve and realize their dreams with the help and support of their parents, relatives, friends, agencies and schools. Education is the large part of the answer, but not all of it.

James's message is clear. Stick to your Indigenous values, study hard, work hard and enlist the support of others to assist youth on their journey.

James is entrenched in Canadian Indigenous history. He knows it well.  He lives it daily. He can present it to you and your group with pride and without pointing a finger at anyone that was responsible for colonial crimes.

This presentation includes more than a straight history lesson. It contains pearls of wisdom about Indigenous values, culture, traditions, habits, customs and behaviours.

This presentation is useful to both the white and Indigenous community alike. How does the white person do business with the Indigenous community without offending or crossing a line of some sort? It's important, as we go forward, to take a good look at our past. It can guide us to accomplish more together, united and prosperous.

The Makokis Family can draft up a speaker series presentation specifically for the conference and your association. This half day session would include all three speakers presenting with each other, or each speaker can draft a presentation to follow up and expand on the other member of the Makokis family’s presentations throughout the session. Each member of the Makokis family has a very unique perspective on First Nation Matters and important information for all Canadians and will be focused for teachers and educators in Alberta.

This speaker series addresses the history, current situation, and future of Indigenous culture in Canada. It includes practical solutions for any matters related to First Nations in Canada. A truly unique presentation, there are not many sessions or presenters that can address the amount of issues that the Makokis family can. This presentation is customized to each organization and association.
Dr. Patricia Makokis, (Ed.D.) is acclaimed as one of Canada’s most outstanding Indigenous leaders and aboriginal expert. Her warm speaking style engages audience everywhere. She uses humour and relevant anecdotes to make her points. Dr. Makokis is internationally and nationally renowned. She is in demand as a speaker across Canada not only because she is an expert on Indigenous matters, but also because of her articulate and humourous presentations. The vital and necessary guiding principles of her Indigenous values are deeply rooted in the worship and respect for the land and the environment.

She intimately knows the history of indigenous peoples and she practices their philosophy and beliefs in everything that she does. Dr. Patricia is authentic. Residing on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation She is a proud First Nation representative and member of the indigenous community. She is passionate about who she is, the knowledge she possesses, and the groups and individuals she represents. She has embraced both the Cree culture and the western world view. Patricia has addressed numerous audiences across Canada and around the world in the fields of education, justice and health. She is in demand as an authority and an articulate representative of “what can be achieved” and “how to build on Indigenous values and culture” to succeed in this highly competitive world. She is highly respected across Alberta for her knowledge, abilities and her passion to help First Nation Communities become whole again. She works closely with many different reserves, provincial and government agencies, healthcare systems and communities as a consultant. She is relied on by these organizations for her expertise. Patricia is dynamic, educative, funny and always receives high praise for her presentations. Dr. Patricia Makokis is an expert on multiple topics, which include Aboriginal Rights, Canadian – Aboriginal relations, First Nations History in Canada, and Indigenous education.

Dr. James Makokis is well grounded in all matters relating to Indigenous cultures, traditions, values, and customs. He is also experienced with the delivery of medical and social services to First Nation communities in Canada. As you probably know, James is a leading role model within the medical and Indigenous community. His keynote address and/or workshop presentation can explore the status of Indigenous health services in Canada and the improvements that are required for long term sustainability. James also can provide information on his struggling years as a youth, and his resiliency to become who he is today. James’ presentations will inspire audience members to become better members of their community through understanding his story, and his experience inside and outside of the aboriginal community.

Dr. James will provide inspirational and practical advice on how he was able to achieve so much through his education, culture, spirituality, health, self-confidence, self-motivation, and overcoming adversity. James has overcome bullying in his prior years, is a proud member of the LGBTQ2 community and has faced off with many government leaders, and is at the forefront of a shift in government perspectives on Indigenous rights, healthcare, access, programming, housing, mental health, and social services. James is one of our most outstanding speakers and we are proud to represent him. He has a story like no other and speaks on multiple issues, it is sometimes hard for us to keep up with James!

Dr. James Makokis is a leader among the First Nation community and is a primary resource for the government and Alberta Health Service agencies. James would be able to do a keynote or workshop presentation, with plenty Q & A, to inspire audience members through his experiences, education and understanding of aboriginal issues for youth and the importance issues surrounding challenges faced through diversity in the classroom. In his earlier years’, his work was primarily focused on youth, and James still has a passion, and in his own words, “a responsibility” to help Indigenous Youth become all they can be, no matter what their situation. Dr. James Makokis is a very busy man, and we usually need 3 business days to hear back from him for his availability.

Janice Makokis is an active lawyer, consultant and Indigenous leader in Canada, like her brother James and mother Patricia. Janice has also Co-chaired the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus (NAIPC) at the United Nations on the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Janice is also an active leader within and outside of the aboriginal community. Janice is often called upon to help Indigenous leaders and communities as a consultant on legal and social issues that many communities and individuals face within and outside of the aboriginal community. Janice Makokis, the youngest of the Makokis family, is fresh from participating in legal matters and advocacy relating to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada.

Janice has also overcome many obstacles to arrive where she is today, and her drive and passion for real change within Canada has taken Janice on a path to become a leader, peaceful activist, mediator, teacher, consultant, and role model within and outside of her career which is focused as an advocate for aboriginal rights, education of the white population, social justice and acknowledgment for the past and current treatment of aboriginals today and represents real change for aboriginals and Canadians, that so many individuals and communities are seeking for. She also has worked with youth throughout her career and expresses the same passion and responsibility to aboriginal youth as her brother James.

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