“When I was learning medicine, I always looked at it through a Cree lens and Cree world view” - Dr. James Makokis

Dr. James Makokis

Canada's Two Spirit, Diversity, Indigenous Health and First Nation Expert

Dr. James Makokis leads one of North America’s most progressive family medical clinics serving both LGBTQ2S and First Nation peoples from all over Canada. He is a proud Cree, Two-Spirit doctor from Saddle Lake First Nation in Northern, AB. Known as one of Canada’s most progressive doctors and experts on numerous topics, he is on a mission serve marginalized populations and to change the outcomes for Indigenous and LGBTQ2S peoples. Dr. James Makokis and his partner Anthony Johnson were crowned winners of the Amazing Race Canada Season 7, where they received international recognition for their advocacy of marginalized individuals by making the world aware of the impact of discrimination and the mistreatment of anyone labelled as being “different”. They both currently reside on Treaty 6 Territory outside of Edmonton.

Dr. James Makokis has received international attention for his holistic approach to medicine. He is also one of the few doctors that combine traditional Cree and Western practices. Known for his compassion, numerous accomplishments and his unique insights, Dr. James Makokis has inspired all types of Canadians to challenge stereotypical and often discriminating views towards First Nation and LGBTQ2S peoples. Dr. Makokis has won numerous awards, sat on many boards and councils, and continues to give back to his communities in any way he can. Through his work and his previous contributions, he continues to break down stigmas and identify the societal structures and forces of oppression that LGBTQ2S and First Nation people face.

Dr. James Makokis wanted to be a doctor since he was four, and it was during his education that he decided to focus on LGBTQ2S and Indigenous health so that he could make a difference for those often left out of the healthcare system and society as a whole. Because of the attitudes and discrimination individuals he serves face it often leads to his patients being misguided by the healthcare system, which then leaves them to mistrust the advice they have received. Dr. Makokis is here to create real change by serving marginalized populations and rebuild relationships with those who have are often left behind. Many of his patients travel long distances to receive his advice and services.

Dr. Makokis earned his Master’s in health science from the University of Toronto in 2006 and graduated from the University of Toronto’s medical school in 2010 and the University of British Columbia’s Aboriginal Family Medicine Residency Training Program in 2012. He is also trained in family medicine. continue to save lives through his medical practice and his unique approach to medicine. Dr. Makokis has also worked as an instructor at the Yellowhead Tribal College, the University of Toronto, and the University of Alberta, teaching courses on Indigenous health, Indigenous cultural practices, and traditional medicine.

Dr. James Makokis faced many challenges earlier on in establishing his career as an Indigenous doctor. Being Two-Spirit, from a small segregated and poverty-stricken forced him to prove himself, try to ignore hurtful statements against him, and develop coping strategies to manage systematic and social forms of discrimination. This is in large part a big part of his success as a doctor as he can relate to his patients and can emphasize with them before providing his medical advice. He has worked from travelling alongside former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a diplomatic mission to Brazil and had the rare opportunity to work next to Dr. Patch Adams in the Amazon Jungle. He also received certification from the Aboriginal Family Medicine Training Program and served as the Spokesperson for the National Aboriginal Health Organization’s Role Model Program for many years.

He brings his mix of expertise, knowledge, commitment, understanding, compassion and ultimately – love to every person he interacts with, and we are all blessed to hear his progressive approach and his unique insights. Dr. James Makokis has been called to serve individuals that struggle to make sense of themselves and to bring awareness to become an ally in improving the lives of those who struggle to find purpose and make sense of their world. He shares the stories he and his patients live with while celebrating each person’s uniqueness and showing us all how to contribute to improving each other’s lives and our world.

Topic Presentations

Canada’s Cree Two-Spirit Leader and winner of The Amazing Race Canada Season 7 is a proud member of the LGBTQ2S community who has not had an easy path to become the person he is today. Dr. James Makokis faced many challenges along throughout his life including overcoming bullying, systematic colonialism, community segregation, racism, and gender/sexuality stereotypes. He surmounted many obstacles with his strong support from his family, elders, and community all while practicing and incorporating the strengths of Indigenous values and culture. Dr. Makokis was forced to turn the other cheek and rise above all challenging situations, individuals and systems that were forced upon him since birth. He learned to master impartial situations and to use them as motivation for his success. He learned to use forgiveness, compassion and understanding to overcome those wanting to limit his success.

Dr. Makokis is considered a leader and a role model for all Canadians. He is at the forefront of creating new spaces for equality, acceptance, growth. He and his family play an important role in the quest for Canada to bring light to human rights violations, historical tragedies and inequalities that all Indigenous peoples face. He and his family have been advocating and challenging systematic colonialism for over 35 years. His example has already served to inspire many within and outside First Nation communities. Since the United Nations scorned Canada’s mistreatment of Indigenous peoples, the Makokis Family and Dr. James Makokis’ messages are now finally gaining national and international recognition.

He has a compelling story of triumph over defeat. His story has universal appeal, and it serves to inspire everyone that hears him present. Against all odds, Dr. James Makokis succeeded beyond everyone's expectations. How did he do it? What was his inner source of strength and resilience? Let Dr. Makokis tell you his story about how he overcame adversity to become who he is today. He will reveal the right combination of traditional values, cultural practices, mental performance, leadership, transformation, spirituality, willpower, empathy, compassion, resilience, the importance of support systems and community and the hard work it takes to succeed in anything we put our mind to.

Dr. James Makokis has an incredible firsthand experience in growing up as a Two-Spirit in a segregated and marginalized community. He has one of the most unique perspectives on the importance of acceptance and equal treatment regarding cultural, gender, sexuality, and racial differences. Two-Spirit is a contemporary English term to reflect gender diversity that Indigenous nations have always had. Although the history of the term Two-Spirit is a celebratory term within Indigenous communities. The imposition of colonialism has caused individuals that identify as Two-Spirit within their community often to be discriminated against and excluded from peer groups. Anthony felt pressure from his peers, his community and even some members of his family, to conform to gender roles while struggling with racial inequality, and racial discrimination in western society.

Canada is one of the most diverse countries in the world. Many individuals face personal challenges in achieving success. He combines his story; everyday life experiences and areas of expertise to deliver practical insights on how to create accepting spaces and to implement strategies where EVERYONE can prosper by incorporating an accepting attitude to anyone that is outside of social norms. He will share insights on experiences LGBTQ2S and First Nation individuals face in coping, confronting and internalizing forces of discrimination.

Dr. Makokis teaches audiences how to identify and acknowledge our unconscious bias, which often creates and reinforces stereotypes and stigmas which then negatively impact our relationships. Dr. Makokis teaches how to become an ally to refocus our relationships to be accepting, safe and supportive. This presentation will provide key introspective learning for individuals and organizations that work and create new inclusive programs for diverse populations. By creating inclusive and accepting environments, we will be able to create new leaders, stronger teams and a humanistic and united synergy for equality and access. He will shed light on the type of support individuals and organizations can provide to create an equal, inclusive and accepting environment to eradicate the mistreatment of anyone labelled as being different.

Dr. Makokis brings us through a larger understanding of what it means to lead with compassion, and take action within ourselves and in our careers to understand others and their situations. Dr. Makokis had the opportunity to work beside Dr. Patch Adams in the Amazon and travelled alongside former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a diplomatic mission to Brazil early in his career.

In learning from one of the best physicians in American history, and some of Canada's top leaders, Dr. Makokis brings his raw yet compassionate approach to his everyday work and personal relationships. He shows the benefits of how asking questions, being self-aware, the careful use of language and searching to use empathy on how to approach different people in all types of situations. Through his own story of being marginalized and discriminated against within and outside of his community, Dr. Makokis shares the mindset he continues to demonstrate in his approach to his patients, family members and co-workers.


Dr. James Makokis highlights the unfortunate history and TRUTH of the realities of colonialism in Canada and the impact on First Nation communities and peoples. Dr. Makokis will explain the structures and systems of how early settlers stripped First Nation communities and peoples of their Indigenous values, traditions, languages and customs. Dr. Makokis then relates colonialism and how it has formed today's reality and how systems of the past have maintained inequality and unfair treatment for First Nation communities and Indigenous peoples. He will deliver facts on the current challenges Indigenous cultures face and how to break down the colonial structures of the past to reclaim their culture without assistance or intervention from Non-Indigenous Canadians.

Dr. James Makokis will provide practical insights on the importance of RECONCILIATION and deliver strategic advice on how each community member and their leaders can implement procedures to support the 94 TRC Calls to Action. The United Nations stated clearly that we can no longer be a 1st world country with 3rd world conditions for Indigenous communities. Dr. Makokis' presentation focuses on a united front for all Canadians to take part in and stand up to eliminate the reality that we have left behind many people and communities outside of the Canadian System. This presentation can focus on or include multiple TRC Calls to Action in each community. council, industry or organization faces different challenges for RECONCILIATION

Most Canadians do not know that most Indigenous peoples’ lives are governed by federal laws under the Indian Act of 1876. The Act is still in place today. Treaties were signed years ago to protect First Nation groups and their rights to land. The Government of Canada continues to treat treaties as though they are non-existent, with the United Nations pointing their finger at the Canadian Government to change their racial discrimination of Indigenous populations. There remains an abundant need to address the inequality and racism that Indigenous peoples in Canada face and to do so with the leadership and teachings of Indigenous Elders.

Prior to the arrival and settlement of European immigrants, Indigenous people had complex and successful knowledge systems and practices about land systems, sciences, mathematics, clans, politics, physical and mental health, and food security that provided a healthy and abundant livelihood for millions of people for tens of thousands of years. The effects of colonialism and the Indian Act play a major role in First Nation access to education, health care, clean drinking water, housing, and many other things that non-Indigenous Canadians often take for granted. Canada’s horrific and not-so-distant past of the residential school system utilized education as a form of oppression between the 1880s to 1960s.

There are still over 40 First Nation communities that still do not have schools in their communities. The K-12 completion rate for First Nation students is 49%. There are anywhere between 52 and 70 languages indigenous to what is now called Canada (depending on how you count them). Only three are expected to survive this century. The sad fact that First Nation students are more likely to end up in jail than to graduate high school is in large part because of colonialism. Suicide rates among First Nations youth are up to seven times higher than among non-Indigenous youth.

Close to 20% of First Nations communities are under a drinking water advisory, a statistic that has remained remarkably consistent for the past 25 years. As corporations rarely being held accountable, the global threat of climate change, the lack of economic and social equality in all nations, the rise of fake news, the never-ending corporate fight of world domination and control, humanity and our earth have never faced so many global and social threats.

Dr. Makokis and the Makokis family commit to the annual Treaty Walk which follows a group of Indigenous Elders, public health care union workers, representatives of faith communities and others as they embark on a 14 day long walk to gain allies. The organizers have called their journey "The Walk for Common Ground." The journey has an emotional impact on the walkers while stopping in all communities along the way to raise awareness for common ground. The purpose of the walk is to educate others on the importance of Treaty and Indigenous ways of knowing. Through learning and living into the Natural Laws of Kindness, Honesty, Sharing, and Strength, they all walk to transform themselves and the communities they visit along the way.

Dr. Makokis shares insights on the importance of pivoting from our current path and that humans can band together to create a united mindset of awareness, peace, compassion, and forgiveness. He offers solutions on how to we can assist Indigenous peoples to overcome and combat systematic oppression strategically and together.  We all have a responsibility to our planet, each other, and ourselves. In creating a united perspective on social change and equality,  James breaks down barriers for a progressive approach to the human experience, and how we can work together to create reconstruct our reality and country to be aligned with one another on all fronts.

The world is changing faster than ever before, and some may argue for the worse than the better. A worldwide pandemic, climate change, and the Black/Indigenous Lives Matter Movement have caused a shift in our approach to our work, relationships and how we think. The industrialization and corporatocracy of the world economy have caused mass inequality between rich and poor, exploitation and mistreatment of minorities populations and the destruction of our planet and its ecosystems.

Dr. Makokis has been mentored by the different elders, ceremonial leaders, physicians, environmentalists, botanists, medicine persons, and teachers along his path. Deeply rooted in his Ojibway and Cree heritage, Dr. Makokis shares his understanding of the Cree belief systems and history including location and meaning of sacred sites, animal migration patterns, the land, the water, and the cosmos. He also addresses the principles of Indigenous health, traditional medicines, ceremonies, natural law and governance.  Entrusted with this knowledge to pass on to future generations. Through these teachings, he helps individuals connect to their human and spiritual selves and find their purpose.

So many of us are striving to make sense of the world we live in to make our lives, the people we love and the world better in every and any way. Many are unaware of the roots of Indigenous culture, values and spirituality through traditional practices that are intertwined and encompass so many solutions for these challenges. Dr. James Makokis shows how his roots in Cree Culture and traditions helped him become who he is today with a strong focus on improvement for himself, his relationships, the world and to advocate for oppressed communities. He shares how Indigenous culture has enabled him to focus on his relationship with himself, the creator, the earth and all living things. Rooted back to hundreds of years of life before and during colonialism, he shows how the solutions to many of the world’s problems mirror Indigenous values and cultural practices.

Dr. Makokis has had the rare opportunity to reconnect with his elders, learn different Indigenous cultural practices from different First Nation communities and share insights and learn from some of Canada and the world’s top leaders regarding the establishment and importance of Indigenous values for all Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples. We have much to learn from incorporating a worldview through the Indigenous approach to living and being. Learn about how Indigenous culture helped Dr. Makokis to achieve extraordinary success and practical insights we can all use in our everyday lives.

Prior to the arrival and settlement of European immigrants, Indigenous people had complex and successful knowledge systems and practices about land systems, sciences, mathematics, clans, politics, physical and mental health, and food security that provided a healthy and abundant livelihood for millions of people for tens of thousands of years. Canada’s horrific and not-so-distant past of the residential school system utilized education as a form of oppression between the 1920’2 to the mid-1990s. The trauma from the residential schools and colonialism passed down between generations has left a negative impact and outcomes on how Indigenous peoples see themselves within and outside of their community. The effects of colonialism and the Indian Act play a major role in First Nation access to education, health care, clean drinking water, housing, and many other things that non-Indigenous Canadians often take for granted.

The recent discovery of the victims of residential school victims gave national attention to missing children and adults never accounted for within many nations. The ongoing search within all nations to identify mass graves has been long coming, as many nations and their elders shared the history of the loss of their loved ones throughout Canada's dark history of Colonialism and abuse. Families were stripped of their loved ones along with their land. Indigenous bands and family structures were replaced by western systems and philosophy.

The last residential school was shut down in Canada in 1996. The Makokis family is deeply rooted in Saddle Lake, AB in where Blue Quills Indian Residential School was the second last residential school to be active in Alberta. The school had four different locations; Lac la Biche, AB (1862-1898), Saddle Lake, AB (1898-1931), St. Paul, AB (1898-1931) and its current location on Blue Quills First Nation Indian Reserve (1931-today).

In 1971, the school reopened as Blue Quills Education Centre later to become Blue Quills University. When reopened it was the First Nations owned and operated university in Canada, the first of its kind in the country. Still active today, The university is jointly owned by seven First Nation bands in the area. Dr. Patricia Makokis, James' mother taught at Blue Quills early in her career. The Makokis family is attached to many families and has heard many stories of the darkness surrounding the school's existence between 1862 - 1970. It was not until 1970 that Blue Quill's residential school be reformed under First Nation authority with its dark history attached to the school and the families.

Dr. James Makokis brings to attention first-hand experiences from elders within the community on their personal experiences within the residential school's system and the impact it had within their communities. He helps us understand how even though residential schools have been abolished across Canada, that the many forms of discrimination, unfair treatment, abuse and previous systems of oppression still live today in different forms and in different ways, which is continuing to oppress Indigenous populations.

This talk focuses on past and current TRUTH's while identifying key areas for change. It helps organizations and individuals to better understand the past, so we can understand where we are, to create change for the future.

Dr. Makokis shares a unique perspective on how Indigenous and First Nation people can reclaim their culture and heritage, through strategic partnerships and campaigns that contribute to the success of his people. He shows how the impact of colonialism has led to Indigenous populations being marginalized and often forgotten within Canadian society. The impacts of colonialism have caused generational and intersectional trauma, which has forced First Nation peoples to struggle with their identity and to find hope within their social and economic opportunities. Dr. Makokis will show how cycles of oppression have led to mental health, family violence and addictions problems for many Indigenous populations.

Dr. Makokis shows us to break the cycles of oppression through self-governance, family support, community programming, social advocacy, compassionate care, and raising awareness within each community to instill change from within. He also shows the benefits of creating a bridge between First Nation and non-Indigenous groups to change the outcomes and determinants that are keeping Indigenous peoples oppressed.

Dr. Makokis brings light to the situation by showing how Indigenous populations can reclaim their culture through traditional values and traditional culture. Through a preventative and strategic approach, Dr. Makokis shows how to reclaim their history and to develop or restructure the delivery of their community programs. Dr. Makokis will identify key areas for improvement for each organization/community and will share how other First Nation communities have been successful in areas others may struggle with. He will show the importance of continuing to grow the ownership and responsibilities for governing bodies in First Nation communities and the impact they can create without any third-party assistance.

There are many First Nation bands that still do not have schools in their communities. The K-12 completion rate for First Nation students is 49%. The sad fact that First Nation students are more likely to end up in jail than to graduate high school is in large part because of colonialism. Suicide rates among First Nations youth are up to seven times higher than among non-Indigenous youth. Close to 20 % of First Nations communities are under a drinking water advisory, a stat that has remained remarkably consistent for the past 25 years. There are anywhere between 52 and 70 languages indigenous to what is now called Canada (depending on how you count them). Only three are expected to survive this century.

The Makokis family members are strong advocates for educating the Indigenous population as well as educating new allies to learn about Indigenous teachings. They firmly believe that education will change the outcomes for Indigenous peoples.  They have all taught at the Yellowhead Tribal College located in Alberta and all have strong ties to their post-secondary institutions to assist them in the delivery of Indigenous courses and knowledge.

It was at Yellowhead Tribal College where Dr. James Makokis and his sister Janice Makokis were taught and mentored by Chief Jim O'Chiese a distinguished professor, ceremonial leader, environmentalist, botanist, forester, medicine person, and teacher. Jim passed on his Ojibway and Cree education to many students, to shape their understanding of medicines, ceremonies, the location and meaning of sacred sites, animal migration patterns, the land, the water, and the cosmos. Entrusted with this knowledge to pass on to future generations, Dr. James Makokis was able to and continues to utilize these teachings with Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups, to help them understand the differences and shared beliefs between Indigenous and non Indigenous teachings.

Dr. Makokis helps us understand how to better serve Indigenous communities to access strong education, as well as how to serve Indigenous students to maximize their learning. Education is one of the major factors that will contribute to the success of Indigenous populations. Dr. Makokis' talk brings a strategic approach to how one teacher or one student can shape the path and outcomes for First Nation communities and Indigenous populations, one course at a time. Dr. James Makokis also shares his own story within the education system, as although not always easy, he grew to understand the important role it played for his future as well as the impact he can have on others.  This talk helps educators understand their roles in teaching Indigenous youth and providing hope and encouragement along the way. It can also be an inspirational youth and student presentation, to help them understand the importance of education in their lives and their future.

When Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman, filmed the final moments of her life at a hospital in Joliette, Que., Canadians and the world experienced the entrenched racism and substandard care Indigenous Peoples know all too well. It’s common for First Nations to experience racism both at the small-town hospitals near reserves and at major hospitals in urban areas. The effects of colonialism and the systematic oppression that was created and has been maintained through colonialist practices have caused a loss of knowledge and access to traditional medicines that were passed to them for hundreds of years. The breach of treaties forced migration, abolishment of traditional practices and traditional medicines, and many other issues related to the mistreatment of First Nation communities because of colonialism practices have caused a lack of health, social and public services in First Nation communities. Health inequity and the social determinants of health for Indigenous peoples are deeply rooted in the loss of traditional lands, traditional culture, community, and self-governance. Indigenous medicine and health equality therefore must first be addressed from a larger outlook to enable the preservation and promotion of traditional cultures, and self-determination expressed through self-government and community control over traditional lands, traditional culture, education, and social services.

The stigma of sexual and gender discrimination, and the lack of access for LGBTQ2S people in the healthcare system, have a negative impact on the social determinants of health for transgender and LGBTQ2S people. Dr. Makokis will shares stories from his personal experiences as well as knowledge gained through treating transgender patients. Gender dysphoria is defined as a condition where there is a conflict between a person's physical gender and the gender he or she identifies with. This complex issue leads many to mental health, substance abuse and even suicide if gone untreated.

Racism and gender bias systemic bias disproportionately affect a large portion of marginalized populations in Canada, resulting in higher levels of negative health outcomes and unnecessary deaths. Racism and discrimination are experienced by LGBTQ2S patients, LGBTQ2S health care providers, Indigenous patients and Indigenous health care providers. This pattern of abuse is consistent with the long history of systemic oppression perpetuated by Canada and its institutions against First Nations Peoples & LGBTQ2S populations.

Dr. Makokis takes every opportunity to advocate for Indigenous & LGBTQ2S peoples in and outside of his practice. Transgender & First Nation education in medicine is not very thorough in Canada, yet Dr. James Makokis has been so successful with his approach that some high-risk patients have told him that he has saved their life. Dr. Makokis is one of the very few that has first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations of transgender & Indigenous patients. His new-age approach to medicine is bringing new awareness that breaks away from current treatments and medical practices combining research and care for patient-focused treatment. Dr. Makokis’ presentations focus on bringing awareness to racial and gender equality within the healthcare system.

It is clear that the current health care system needs to change: complaints procedures need to be culturally safe, patient-focused, trauma-informed and most importantly, restorative actions need to occur when adverse events are reported. To improve LGBTQ2S health and Indigenous health, adequate financial resources and investments must be made to develop health care infrastructure, including rebuilding the Indigenous health systems decimated by federal legislation since Confederation. Leaving health care provision to the provinces and territories without proper quality control measures will only lead to more of the same. When will enough be enough? Our collective treaty agreements allowed for us to live together in peace and friendship and to take care of one another as members of the human family.

Dr. Makokis shares his unique experience in growing up in a segregated First Nation Community in Northern Alberta, as well as his experience as a doctor at Kehewin Health Centre, North East of Edmonton, AB. His unique firsthand experience teaches participants the history of how we got to where we are now and identifies strategies on what still needs to be improved for the different types of circumstances to increase the health of all LGBTQ2S and Indigenous Peoples. Dr. Makokis will research each organization and community’s past, present, and future challenges to tailor his presentation to focus on the solutions that each organization and individual can take to improve health practices and the delivery of health services to combat systematic oppression within the health care system.
This presentation can be tailored to be specific for Indigenous Health and/or LGBTQ2S Health.

Dr. Makokis draw's from his personal experiences as well as knowledge gained through treating and working with Indigenous and LGBTQ2S individuals to understand their health circumstances while learning and implementing access to proper care and consistent care. Gender dysphoria is defined as a condition where there is a conflict between a person's physical gender and the gender he or she identifies with. This complex issue leads many to mental health, substance abuse and even suicide if gone untreated. Indigenous patients often lack trust within the healthcare system and lack access to proper services. Canada's previous interactions regarding medicine for Indigenous peoples have led to mistrust between Doctors and Indigenous patients. Furthermore, many Indigenous medicine practices and traditions have been silenced or lost, due to colonialism and Canada's unfortunate past of stripping Indigenous peoples from their rights, culture and knowledge.

Dedicating his time to multiple First Nation communities and the LGBTQ2S community, Dr. James Makokis gets to know each patient over multiple visits to use empathy to understand their social and psychological circumstances. He will share insights from trans patients based on their experiences in receiving encouragement and facing discrimination, shedding light on the type of support trans people and LGBTQ2S people need and best practices in putting the patient first before jumping to conclusions. His gentle inquisitive method wins him the accolades of many patients. Dr. Makokis takes every opportunity to advocate for LGBTQ2S members outside of his practice and has again found himself at the forefront of human rights and acceptance. Transgender education in medicine is not very thorough in Canada, yet Dr. James Makokis has been so successful with his approach that some high-risk patients have told him that he has saved their life.

He practices medicine with a unique brand of compassion, sensitiveness and love in his sincere effort to help patients suffering from gender dysphoria. His Two-Spirit perspective, personal journey and understandings of the wide variety of issues that affect Indigenous populations allows him to fully understand the different personality traits one may be facing when coming into his office.  He uses a progressive and holistic approach to medicine which is a patient-focused care practice with a holistic approach. He does his own research into different treatment methods, often combining natural remedies with today's most effective medicine. Dr. Makokis teaches audiences how to provide effective treatment to Indigenous peoples and how to regain their trust by incorporating traditional values, traditional medicine, communication strategies, and cultural beliefs. Dr. Makokis is one of the very few that has first-hand knowledge of the trials and tribulations of transgender & Indigenous patients. His new-age approach to medicine is bringing new awareness that breaks away from current treatments and medical practices combining research and care for patient-focused treatment.

It is the belief within Indigenous history that being Two-Spirt, is in having a high functioning intellect and an exceptional capacity for compassion. Historically, it is a celebratory term in that some people are born with the spirits of both genders (two spirits within one body) with the ability to express them perfectly. Traditional Indigenous bands assigned no moral gradient to love or sexuality, as one was judged and accepted for their character and their contributions to the community. The families of Two-Spirit individuals were considered lucky to be gifted by the Creator with a family member who could see the world through the eyes of both genders.

Traditionally, Two-Spirit people were in large part at the foundation of the tribe. They held positions within their tribes that earned them great respect, such as mystics, visionaries, shamans, conjurers, keepers of the tribes' traditions, cooks, matchmakers, weavers, potters and marriage counsellors. Female-bodied Two Spirits were fearless warriors, hunters, and typically engaged in what was typically considered to be men’s work.

With the arrival of western settlers, Europeans forced their way into North America, colonial governments eagerly formed white power structures, land grabbed from Natives and implemented the genocidal conversion tactics that have defined the relationship between Native Americans and Euro-American governments. When some settlers such as Christopher Columbus encountered the Two-Spirit people, he and his crew threw them into pits with their war dogs and were torn limb from limb. The inhuman treatment Christians offered was only the beginning of what is considered now to compare to the holocaust on Turtle Island. With the imposition of European culture and Christianity, Two-Spirits were forced by Europeans and the assimilated Indigenous Peoples to conform to western gender roles in that period.

Dr. James Makokis shares the history, different forms of Two-Spirit and his personal experiences while growing up in a segregated community while identifying as Two-Spirit. With the effects of colonialism, patriarchy and western culture continues to impact the treatment of Two-Spirit peoples within and outside their communities. Much like individuals who identify as LGBT, Two-Spirit share discriminatory and layered forms of oppression which often brings exposure to a higher risk to suicide, addictions & mental health. Dr. Makokis shares strategic insights into how to best manage anyone being discriminated against based on their gender or sexuality while offering best practices for those supporting each other in personal relationships, community programs, the education system and in western society.

Dr. Makokis shows us how to celebrates our indifferences and sheds light on our strengths. This presentation focuses on assisting program leaders, community leaders and parents to better understand what their child is going through.


This presentation can be tailored to assist Two-Spirit & LGBT youth to better understand themselves as well as how to approach challenging situations with their peers and their families.

Dr. James Makokis’ Customized Presentations on LGBTQ2 Topics: 

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • Treatment of LGBTQ2 in Healthcare

  • Preventative Health

  • LGBTQ2/Two-Spirit Health

  • LGBTQ2 Support Systems

  • LGBTQ2/Two-Spirit Youth

  • Two-Spirit Variations and Celebration

  • Traditional History of Two-Spirit

  • LGBTQ2 Mental Health

  • LGBTQ2 Access to Health Services

  • LGBTQ2 Advocacy

Dr. Makokis’ Custom Presentation for Indigenous Health Topics:

  • First Nation Health & Mental Health

  • Health and Nutrition in First Nation Communities

  • Cultural Centered Care and Services

  • Traditional Indigenous Medicine

  • Delivery of Health Services for First Nation Communities

  • First Nation Access to Health Services

Dr. Makokis Customized Presentation on First Nation Topics:

  • Housing and Living Conditions on First Nation Communities

  • Traditional Culture and Values

  • Indigenous History

  • Truth and Reconciliation

  • Inter-sectional Trauma

  • Effects of Colonialism

  • First Nation Advocacy and Activism

  • Social Programming and Community Development

  • Generational Trauma

  • Intersectional Trauma

  • Indigenous Youth

  • Indigenous Resilience

  • Indigenous Leadership

  • First Nation Community Development/Engagement

  • Indigenous Education

  • Spirituality

Dr. Makokis’ Customized Presentation Topics on Health and Healthcare Topics:

  • Health & Wellness

  • Mental Health

  • Nutrition

  • Public Health & Access

  • Healthcare Management

  • Patient-Focused Therapy

  • Health and Nutrition

  • Delivery of Healthcare Services

  • Access to Public Health

  • Preventative Medicine


  • COVID-19

  • Infectious Disease

  • Diabetes

  • PTSD & Trauma

  • Suicide Prevention

  • Addictions

  • Family Violence

  • Seniors in Care

  • Program Evaluation

Dr. James Makokis’ Customized Presentations for Worldview and Current Events:

  • Human Rights

  • Equality

  • Social Justice

  • Social Change

  • Activism

  • Advocacy

  • Social Responsibility

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 advocates. 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.

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.

Anthony Johnson graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2008. Johnson's life has been full of dedicating his career and his time to countless numbers of non-profit organizations, social movements, and councils. He also has a very dedicated career as an international businessman. He has recently taken the time to slow down and reconnect with his Navajo Heritage. Ideally, he would have found work on the reservation, but because the unemployment rate is around 48.5%, it was next to impossible. Thus, he earned money by providing whatever services he could to whoever they would help. Though this initially started as a means to an end, it turned into a meaningful life experience that has taught him the power of connecting with others. Johnson’s story is one of hope, overcoming adversity, dealing with racism, activism, community engagement and success.

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The impact of colonization has been long lasting; suppressing Two Spirit traditions and roles and leaving generations of Two Spirit people suffering from multiple layers of discrimination and stigma. Two Spirit youth are particularly at risk. Some find themselves shut out of community gatherings; disowned or ostracized from their families and communities. Schools are no strangers to issues of victimization toward Two Spirit students, who are often targeted and maltreated as members of both a sexual and visible minority. Two Spirit youth may feel unsafe and unwelcome at school thus teachers and school administrators can play an invaluable role in addressing and alleviating some of these issues. As such, this resource hopes to provide a brief but informative window into the challenges that many Two Spirit students face within educational settings as well as contribute practical suggestions that teachers can use to begin addressing these multi layered issues.

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The health disparities affecting Indigenous peoples in Canada might well be understood as a national epidemic. Although progress has been made in the last decade towards both understanding and ameliorating Indigenous health inequalities, very little research or writing has expanded a social determinants of health framework to account for the unique histories and present realities of Indigenous peoples in this country. This timely edited collection addresses this significant knowledge gap, exploring the ways that multiple health determinants beyond the social--from colonialism to geography, from economy to biology--converge to impact the health status of Indigenous peoples in Canada.

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