Dr. James Makokis

Dr. James Makokis

Edmonton, Alberta
Two Spirit Doctor - LGBTQ2S, Indigenous, Diversity & Inclusion Expert
Dr. James A. Makokis is a Nehiyô (Plains Cree) Family Physician from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation in northeastern Alberta and the recent winner of Season 7 of “The Amazing Race Canada” with his husband Anthony Johnson as “Team Ahkameyimok” (“Never give up” in the Plains Cree language). They used their time on the show to bring attention to important issues like never before. He is known for his Two Spirit resilience and decolonizing medicine to bring Indigenous cultural safety to the healthcare system.
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Employee Management
  • Health & Wellness
  • Leadership
  • Mental Health
  • Peak Performance
  • Personal Growth
  • Resilience & Adversity
  • Academia
  • Adventurers
  • Agriculture & Farming
  • All Staff Meeting
  • Annual General Meetings
  • Associations & Unions
  • Athletes & Sports
  • Award Galas & After Dinner


Dr. James Makokis is a leading figure in North American healthcare, renowned for pioneering one of the most progressive family medical clinics committed to serving both the LGBTQ2S+ and First Nation peoples across Canada. One of few Indigenous physicians in Canada, he has received International recognition that stems not only from his role as a physician but also from his authorship in the fields of Indigenous health, transgender health and culturally sensitive care. A proud Cree, Two-Spirit physician from the Saddle Lake First Nation in Northern Alberta, Dr. Makokis is a vocal supporter of LGBTQ+ rights and Two-Spirit visibility. He actively challenges stereotypes and stigmas faced by Two-Spirit individuals within and outside Indigenous communities, dedicating his efforts to education, inclusivity, and acceptance.

Alongside his partner, Anthony Johnson, Dr. Makokis gained international fame when they triumphed in Season 7 of The Amazing Race Canada. They used this platform to heighten awareness about discrimination and the mistreatment of those labelled as “different.” They currently reside on Treaty 6 Territory, outside of Edmonton. Dr. Makokis’s unique approach to medicine involves a blend of traditional Cree healing practices and Western medicine. His recognition of the importance of cultural identity and spirituality in the healing process has led to an innovative approach to addressing health disparities in Indigenous communities. He actively promotes empowering Indigenous communities with the knowledge and tools to manage their own health.

Facing considerable adversity at the onset of his career, Dr. Makokis learned to harness his resilience, transforming his struggles into a source of strength and empathy. Mentorship from various Canadian and Indigenous leaders, such as travelling alongside former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a diplomatic mission to Brazil and having the rare opportunity to work next to Dr. Patch Adams in the Amazon Jungle. He also continues to connect with Elders and Knowledge Keepers in the community, contributing to his understandings, teachings and practices to help shape his views within Western and Indigenous society. Internationally recognized for his holistic approach blending Western and Indigenous Medicine, he has become of Canada’s most well-known voices for the advocacy of human rights, access and equality by breaking down barriers and stereotypes and challenging discriminatory views towards First Nation and LGBTQ2S+ Peoples.

Dr. Makokis’s academic achievements include a Master’s in Health Science from the University of Toronto in 2006, graduation from the University of Toronto’s medical school in 2010, and the completion of the Aboriginal Family Medicine Residency Training Program at the University of British Columbia in 2012. He has taught at the Yellowhead Tribal College, the University of Toronto, and the University of Alberta, focusing on Indigenous health, Indigenous cultural practices, and traditional medicine. 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 is a recipient of numerous awards, a member of various boards and councils, and is continuously involved in community service.

As a keynote speaker and thought leader. Dr. James Makokis is a powerful voice for LGBTQ2S+ and Indigenous equality. He is one of Canada’s leading experts on Two-Spirit resilience and decolonizing medicine with a large focus on equity and access within diversity and inclusion strategy. Dr. Makokis shares his personal experiences, Indigenous knowledge, and compassionate understanding. His aim is to celebrate each person’s uniqueness and inspire others to self-improvement for the collective betterment of the human experience. Dr. James Makokis continues to create a lasting impact on Indigenous health and well-being through his tireless efforts. He serves as an inspiration to many, demonstrating that cultural pride, resilience, and education can foster positive change. With his compassion, knowledge, and unwavering dedication, he is helping to shape a future where Indigenous communities have access to equitable, culturally appropriate, and holistic healthcare.






Interview with Dr. James Makokis

While Indigenous


Bringing Two-Spirit and LGBTQ Relatives Back to the Circle with Dr. James Makokis

Heart of Family Medicine

Terri Potter

Dr. James Makokis: Changing Lives through acceptance and life saving therapy

Dr. James Makokis Topic Presentations

two spirit resilience - the amazing story

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Step into the extraordinary journey of Dr. James Makokis, an esteemed Cree Two-Spirit doctor/family physician and champion of The Amazing Race Canada Season 7. In this captivating presentation, Dr. Makokis shares his incredible story of triumph over adversity, resilience, and the power of embracing Indigenous values and culture.

    From an early age, Dr. Makokis faced countless challenges, including bullying, systemic colonialism, racism, and the burden of stereotypes surrounding his gender and sexuality. However, with unwavering support from his family, elders, and community, he discovered the inner strength to rise above these obstacles and rewrite his narrative.

    As a beacon of hope and inspiration, Dr. Makokis has emerged as a leader and role model for all Canadians. His relentless pursuit of equality, acceptance, and growth has paved the way for important conversations on human rights violations, historical tragedies, and the profound inequalities faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. Through his advocacy efforts spanning over three decades, he has become a powerful catalyst for change, gaining national and international recognition.

    During his engaging presentation, Dr. Makokis delves into the transformative tools and teachings that guided his remarkable journey. Drawing from his Indigenous teachings, he shares the wisdom of traditional values, cultural practices, and spirituality that became the pillars of his resilience. Dr. Makokis reveals the essential components of his success, including mental performance strategies, leadership principles, the transformative power of empathy and compassion, and the vital importance of community support systems.

    Dr. Makokis’ story transcends cultural boundaries, offering universal inspiration and empowerment. Against all odds, he defied expectations and achieved remarkable personal and professional growth. Join him as he shares the secrets of his inner source of strength and resilience, unveiling the remarkable combination of traditional wisdom, unwavering determination, and the challenging work required to succeed against adversity.

    Prepare to be inspired as Dr. James Makokis demonstrates the extraordinary power of resilience and the transformative potential that lies within each of us. His compelling journey serves as a powerful reminder that with determination, support, and a commitment to embracing our cultural heritage, we can overcome any obstacle and thrive in our pursuit of success.

embracing two-spirits: fostering equity, diversity and inclusion

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • With a unique perspective shaped by his own experiences growing up in a segregated and marginalized community, Dr. James Makokis offers profound insights into the importance of acceptance and equal treatment across cultural, gender, sexuality, and racial differences.

    The term “Two-Spirit” embodies the gender diversity that Indigenous nations have celebrated throughout history. Yet, the impact of colonialism has often led to discrimination and exclusion of Two-Spirit individuals within their own communities. Dr. Makokis faced immense pressure to conform to gender roles while grappling with racial inequality and discrimination in Western society, highlighting the complex challenges faced by LGBTQ2S+ and First Nation individuals.

    In this enlightening presentation, Dr. James Makokis guides audiences through the process of identifying and addressing unconscious bias—the hidden beliefs and stereotypes that negatively influence our relationships. With warmth and authenticity, he offers actionable strategies to become allies, fostering accepting, safe, and supportive environments for everyone who exists outside social norms.

    Drawing from his personal journey and professional expertise, Dr. James Makokis unveils the societal forces that perpetuate discrimination and stigma, enabling individuals and organizations to create inclusive programs and spaces that empower diverse populations. By dismantling barriers and promoting equality, we can cultivate new leaders, foster stronger teams, and forge a united synergy grounded in humanistic values.

    This thought-provoking presentation prompts deep introspection, inviting individuals and organizations to examine their own biases, challenge preconceived notions, and commit to fostering a more inclusive and accepting world. Dr. Makokis sheds light on the vital role of support networks and the critical role we all have to create equal, accessible, and inclusive environments, ultimately aiming to eradicate the mistreatment of anyone labelled as “different”.

    Embrace the power of Two-Spirit diversity and join Dr. James Makokis as he leads us toward a future built on empathy, understanding, and a shared commitment to dismantling unconscious biases. Together, we can forge a path of acceptance, equality, and authentic human connection for a better and more harmonious world.

compassion-first leadership: creating connections through empathy

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Through an inclusive lens, the profound effect we can have on our peers and those we interact with are based on our values. As we try to relate to others, we draw from our own experiences to build a bridge to connect with others. Dr. Makokis uses the powers of empathy and compassion to better connect with others no matter who they are to better understand their situation.

    From his remarkable experiences, including working alongside renowned physician Dr. Patch Adams and participating in a diplomatic mission with former Governor General Michaëlle Jean, Dr. James Makokis shares invaluable insights on leading with empathy in both professional and personal contexts.

    Guided by the wisdom of influential mentors, Dr. James Makokis exemplifies the profound impact that compassion can have on our relationships and overall well-being. Through his own journey of facing marginalization and discrimination, both within and outside his community, he demonstrates the profound importance of asking questions, cultivating self-awareness, and utilizing language with care to foster understanding and connection.

    In this compelling presentation, Dr. Makokis explores the intricate art of empathy and provides practical tools for navigating diverse situations with grace and compassion. By delving into his own experiences and sharing poignant anecdotes, he inspires audiences to adopt a mindset of genuine care and consideration in their interactions with patients, family members, and colleagues.

    Dr. Makokis’s unique perspective highlights the power of compassion to bridge divides, nurture trust, and drive positive change. With a focus on cultivating empathy, he empowers individuals to create a more harmonious and supportive environment in all aspects of life.

    Embark on a transformative journey with Dr. James Makokis as he reveals the profound impact of compassion on personal growth, professional success, and meaningful connections. Through his compassionate leadership approach, you’ll gain invaluable insights and practical strategies to foster empathy, understanding, and authentic human connection in your own life and work. Together, let’s embrace compassion as a driving force for positive change in our communities and beyond.

nurturing mental health and resilience

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • In this transformative presentation, Dr. James Makokis dives deep into the topic of mental health and well-being, with a particular focus on Indigenous populations. Drawing on his extensive experience as a doctor and his own personal journey, Dr. Makokis compassionately explores the unique challenges faced by Indigenous individuals and communities when it comes to mental health.

    He sheds light on intergenerational trauma, historical injustices, cultural disconnection, and their impact on mental well-being. With a genuine commitment to healing and resilience, Dr. Makokis shares practical strategies and empowering insights to promote mental well-being. He emphasizes the importance of self-care, self-compassion, and self-empowerment in navigating mental health challenges.

    Dr. Makokis encourages participants to embrace their cultural heritage, reconnect with their roots, and draw upon the wisdom of Indigenous traditions and practices for healing and resilience. Through engaging storytelling and relatable examples, Dr. Makokis creates a safe and supportive space for participants to explore their own mental health journeys. He provides guidance on accessing appropriate support systems, building resilient coping mechanisms, and cultivating a sense of hope and purpose.

    By the end of this enlightening presentation, attendees will be equipped with practical tools and a renewed sense of empowerment to prioritize their mental health and well-being. Dr. Makokis’s message serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring individuals to break the silence surrounding mental health, challenge stigmas, and foster inclusive and supportive environments for all.

celebrating gender and sexual diversity

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • In this inspiring presentation, Dr. James Makokis, a renowned advocate for gender and sexual diversity, shares his personal journey of self-discovery and empowerment as a Two-Spirit and transgender individual. With authenticity and passion, Dr. Makokis sheds light on the importance of celebrating and embracing diverse gender and sexual identities from a humanistic lens.

    Drawing from his own experiences, Dr. Makokis reflects on the challenges he has faced as a Two-Spirit physician serving trans populations, including navigating societal expectations, discrimination, and the intersectionality of identities. He shares his path towards guiding others on self-acceptance, self-love, and finding their authentic voice, offering hope and inspiration to individuals who may be going through similar experiences.

    Dr. Makokis invites participants to explore the complexities of gender and sexual diversity, encouraging them to challenge societal norms and foster inclusivity. He emphasizes the significance of creating safe and supportive spaces for all individuals, including trans and Two-Spirit individuals, to thrive and have the courage to be their true selves.

    Through personal anecdotes, heartfelt discussions, and practical insights, Dr. Makokis provides guidance on building understanding, acceptance, and allyship for transgender and Two-Spirit individuals. He highlights the importance of education, empathy, and open dialogue in breaking down barriers and fostering a more inclusive society.

    By the end of this empowering presentation, attendees will gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty of gender and sexual diversity. They will be inspired to embrace their own identities, challenge stereotypes, and actively contribute to creating a world where all individuals are respected, celebrated, and empowered. Dr. James Makokis’ powerful message serves as a catalyst for positive change, guiding us towards a future where everyone can thrive, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.

truth and reconciliation: building a united front

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Dr. James Makokis shares his unique perspective on a powerful journey shedding light on the harsh realities of colonialism in Canada and its lasting impact on First Nation communities and individuals. With unwavering honesty, Dr. Makokis unveils the structures and systems that stripped Indigenous peoples of their cultural heritage, languages, and traditions. Through a compelling exploration of colonialism’s enduring legacy, he reveals how these systems continue to perpetuate inequality and unfair treatment faced by Indigenous communities today.

    In this thought-provoking presentation, Dr. James Makokis goes beyond highlighting the challenges Indigenous cultures face and delves into the vital concept of reconciliation. With practical insights and strategic advice, he empowers community members and leaders to take proactive steps in implementing procedures that support the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Recognizing that true progress requires a united front, Dr. Makokis emphasizes the importance of collective action and engagement from all Canadians.

    As the United Nations has underscored, Canada cannot claim to be a first-world nation while Indigenous communities face third-world conditions. Dr. Makokis’s presentation serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations, and industries to rally together and eliminate the disparities that persist within our country. Each community, council, industry, or organization may face unique challenges on the path to reconciliation, and Dr. Makokis tailors his message to address these specific needs.

    Prepare to be inspired as Dr. James Makokis invites us to confront the truths of our past and unite in a shared commitment to reconciliation. By embracing the 94 Calls to Action and fostering a spirit of collaboration, we can create a future where Indigenous communities are no longer left behind, and where the strength and richness of their cultures are honoured and celebrated. Together, let us embark on a transformative journey toward a more inclusive and equitable nation through allyship and unity.

treaty talk – uniting allies for our future

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Discover the untold truths about Canada’s Indigenous peoples and the ongoing impacts of the Indian Act in Dr. James Makokis’ enlightening presentation. Unbeknownst to many Canadians, Indigenous lives continue to be governed by laws dating back to the Indian Act of 1876. Treaties were signed to safeguard the rights and lands of First Nation groups, yet the Canadian government often disregards these agreements. The United Nations has condemned this racial discrimination and called for change. Now, more than ever, we need to address the inequality and racism faced by Indigenous communities, guided by the wisdom and teachings of Indigenous Elders.

    Before the arrival of European settlers, Indigenous peoples possessed rich knowledge systems and practices related to land, sciences, mathematics, clans, politics, health, and food security. These systems sustained millions of people for tens of thousands of years. However, colonialism and the Indian Act have severely impacted First Nation access to education, healthcare, clean water, housing, and other essential resources that non-Indigenous Canadians often take for granted. The horrific legacy of the residential school system, which operated from the 1880s to the 1960s, represents a dark chapter in Canadian history where education was used as a tool of oppression.

    Today, over 40 First Nation communities still lack schools, and the K-12 completion rate for First Nation students stands at only 49%. The rich tapestry of Indigenous languages, numbering between 52 and 70, is at risk of extinction, with only three projected to survive this century. The impact of colonialism is evident in statistics such as First Nation students being more likely to end up in jail than to graduate high school and suicide rates among First Nations youth is up to seven times higher than among non-Indigenous youth. Shockingly, close to 20% of First Nations communities remain under a drinking water advisory, a problem that has persisted for the past 25 years.

    Based on the Makokis’ family short films “Treaty Walk” and “Treaty Talk”, a transformative 14-day journey alongside Indigenous Elders, healthcare union workers, faith community representatives, and others. This inspiring walk, known as “The Walk for Common Ground,” educates and raises awareness about the significance of treaties and Indigenous ways of knowing. By embodying the Natural Laws of Kindness, Honesty, Sharing, and Strength, the participants aim to transform themselves and the communities they encounter along the way.

    In his presentation, Dr. Makokis offers valuable insights on the need to pivot from our current path and join forces to combat systemic oppression. He highlights the importance of collective responsibility towards our planet, each other, and ourselves. By cultivating a united mindset of awareness, peace, compassion, and forgiveness, we can work together to create a just and equitable future. Dr. Makokis breaks down barriers, inviting us to embrace a progressive approach to the human experience, where we reconstruct our reality and align our country on all fronts. Dr. James Makokis shares his vision for unity, reconciliation, and justice in a transformative presentation that challenges us all to be allies for a better future.

unveiling the truth of residential schools: a journey towards reconciliation

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Before the arrival of European immigrants, Indigenous communities thrived with intricate knowledge systems and practices that sustained their livelihoods for thousands of years. However, Canada’s dark history is intertwined with the residential school system, which oppressed Indigenous peoples through education from the 1920s to the mid-1990s. This system, rooted in colonialism, inflicted deep trauma on generations of Indigenous individuals, profoundly impacting their self-perception and their place within and outside their communities.

    The effects of colonialism and the Indian Act continue to hinder First Nation communities’ access to education, healthcare, clean drinking water, housing, and other basic necessities that many non-Indigenous Canadians often take for granted. The recent discoveries of unmarked graves have shed light on the tragic fate of missing children and adults who were never accounted for.

    The ongoing search for mass graves reflects the painful truth shared by Indigenous nations and their elders, revealing the loss and suffering endured throughout Canada’s dark history of colonialism and abuse. Families were torn apart, lands were seized, and Indigenous band and family structures were replaced by Western systems and ideologies.

    Though the last residential school closed its doors in Canada in 1996, the Makokis family, deeply rooted in Saddle Lake, Alberta, has a direct connection to the Blue Quills Indian Residential School, which operated until 1970. The Makokis family has heard stories from many families within their community, shedding light on the profound impact and darkness surrounding the school’s existence. It was not until 1970 that Blue Quills transformed into an educational center under First Nation authority, marking a significant shift toward self-governance and reclaiming Indigenous identity.

    Dr. James Makokis amplifies the voices of elders within his community, sharing their firsthand experiences and the lasting impact of the residential school system on their lives and their communities. By bringing these stories to light, he aims to foster an understanding of how the legacies of discrimination, abuse, and oppression persist in different forms, continuing to marginalize Indigenous populations today.

    This presentation delves into the truths of Canada’s residential school system, examining both its historical context and its present-day ramifications. Dr. Makokis invites organizations and individuals to confront this difficult past in order to better comprehend the current reality and to ignite meaningful change for the future. By acknowledging the truth and embarking on a path of reconciliation, we can collectively work towards healing the wounds inflicted by this dark chapter of Canadian history and forge a more inclusive and equitable society.

building bridges – forging alliances for healing, self-governance, and community empowerment

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Dr. James Makokis offers a compelling perspective on how Indigenous and First Nation communities can reclaim their culture, restore their heritage, and overcome the lasting impacts of colonialism. He sheds light on the marginalization and neglect experienced by Indigenous populations within Canadian society, as well as the generational and intersectional traumas that have profoundly affected their identities and limited their social and economic opportunities. Dr. Makokis emphasizes the urgent need to break the cycles of oppression and address prevalent issues such as mental health, family violence, and addiction that plague many Indigenous communities.

    Drawing on his own experiences and expertise, Dr. Makokis unveils a path to healing, self-governance, and community empowerment. He demonstrates the transformative power of strategic partnerships, compassionate care, and advocacy to challenge existing systems and create positive change within Indigenous communities. By bridging the gap between First Nation and non-Indigenous groups, Dr. Makokis emphasizes the importance of collaboration to dismantle the barriers that perpetuate oppression and inequality for Indigenous peoples.

    Central to his message is the revitalization of Indigenous culture through the embrace of traditional values and practices. Dr. Makokis advocates for a proactive and strategic approach that allows communities to reclaim their history, restructure their programs, and foster self-sufficiency. He shares practical insights, highlighting successful initiatives from other First Nation communities and showcasing the potential for growth and transformation through local governance without reliance on external assistance.

    Through this presentation, Dr. Makokis inspires organizations and communities to embark on a journey of self-empowerment, encouraging them to forge alliances, assume ownership of their governance, and drive impactful change. By reclaiming their cultural heritage, fostering resilience, and building partnerships rooted in understanding and compassion, Indigenous and First Nation communities can overcome adversity and pave the way to a brighter future for all.

building on indigenous wisdom to generate success

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • In today’s rapidly changing world, marked by global challenges such as pandemics, climate change, and social justice movements, our approach to work, relationships, and personal growth has shifted significantly. The prevailing industrialization and corporatocracy have given rise to widespread inequality, exploitation of marginalized communities, and environmental degradation.

    Dr. James Makokis, guided by wise mentors from various backgrounds including elders, ceremonial leaders, physicians, environmentalists, and more, draws upon his deep connection to his Ojibway and Cree heritage. Rooted in this rich cultural tapestry, he shares profound insights into Cree belief systems, the historical significance of sacred sites, animal migration patterns, and the intrinsic relationship between land, water, and the cosmos.

    Moreover, he delves into the principles of Indigenous health, traditional medicines, ceremonies, natural law, and governance. Dr. Makokis has been entrusted with this invaluable knowledge, which he aims to pass on to future generations, inspiring individuals to rediscover their human and spiritual selves and find their purpose.

    In our collective pursuit to navigate the complexities of our world, many are unaware of the profound roots of Indigenous culture, values, and spirituality. Dr. Makokis illuminates how his Cree cultural heritage and traditions have shaped him into the person he is today, with a profound commitment to personal growth, fostering meaningful relationships, advocating for marginalized communities, and promoting positive change in the world.

    By embracing Indigenous culture, he has cultivated a profound connection with himself, the creator, the earth, and all living beings. These timeless practices, spanning centuries before and during colonialism, offer transformative solutions to address the pressing challenges we face today.

    Dr. Makokis’s journey has afforded him the rare opportunity to reconnect with elders, learn diverse Indigenous cultural practices from various First Nation communities, and exchange insights with esteemed leaders from Canada and beyond. Through these experiences, he has gleaned the profound importance of Indigenous values for all people, regardless of their cultural background. By incorporating an Indigenous worldview into our lives, we gain invaluable wisdom that can shape our perspectives and actions.

    Dr. James MakokiS shares his extraordinary journey and imparts practical insights that resonate with all individuals seeking to navigate and thrive in an ever-changing world. Discover how Indigenous culture and wisdom have guided his path to exceptional success and learn how we can incorporate these teachings into our everyday lives for personal growth, meaningful connections, and positive impact.

keeping doors open – teachers, students & education

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • 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 state 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 passionately 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 key 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.

dismantling systemic discrimination – equitable & accessible healthcare

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • The case of Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman who experienced racism and substandard care in a Quebec hospital, shed light on the entrenched systemic discrimination Indigenous Peoples face within the healthcare system. This discrimination is not limited to small-town hospitals near reserves but extends to major hospitals in urban areas as well.

    The effects of colonialism and the sustained oppression faced by First Nations have resulted in the loss of traditional knowledge and access to Indigenous medicines that have been passed down for generations. The breach of treaties forced migration, and suppression of traditional practices have contributed to a lack of health, social, and public services in First Nation communities.

    Addressing health inequity and the social determinants of health for Indigenous peoples requires a comprehensive approach that centers on the preservation and promotion of traditional cultures, self-determination through self-governance, and community control over lands, education, and social services.

    Dr. Makokis will share firsthand stories and insights gained through treating transgender patients, shedding light on the stigma and discrimination faced by LGBTQ2S individuals in the healthcare system. The intersectionality of racism, gender bias, and systemic discrimination disproportionately affect marginalized populations in Canada, leading to adverse health outcomes and unnecessary loss of lives. These patterns of abuse are consistent with the historical and ongoing systemic oppression faced by First Nations peoples and LGBTQ2S populations.

    Dr. Makokis is a passionate advocate for Indigenous and LGBTQ2S peoples within and beyond his medical practice. His innovative approach to transgender and Indigenous healthcare has transformed the lives of high-risk patients and challenged the status quo of current medical practices. Driven by his firsthand knowledge of the unique challenges faced by transgender and Indigenous patients, he brings a new perspective that combines research, patient-focused care, and a commitment to improving health outcomes.

    To effect meaningful change, the current healthcare system must prioritize cultural safety, trauma-informed care, and restorative actions when adverse events occur. Adequate financial resources and investments are needed to rebuild and strengthen Indigenous health systems that have been impacted by federal legislation over the years.

    It is essential to move away from a fragmented approach to healthcare provision and instead implement quality control measures that ensure equitable care for all. Drawing from his experiences growing up in a segregated First Nation community and his work at the Kehewin Health Centre, Dr. Makokis provides a unique perspective that highlights the history, challenges, and strategies required to improve healthcare practices and delivery for LGBTQ2S and Indigenous peoples.

    Dr. Makokis tailors his presentation to address the specific needs and circumstances of each organization and community, offering practical solutions to combat systematic oppression within the healthcare system. Whether focusing on Indigenous health, LGBTQ2S health, or both, he empowers participants with knowledge, insights, and strategies that contribute to creating a more inclusive and equitable healthcare environment for all.

decolonizing healthcare: promoting culturally sensitive approaches to indigenous health

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • In this transformative presentation, Dr. James Makokis illuminates the crucial importance of decolonizing healthcare and advocates for the adoption of culturally-sensitive approaches to Indigenous health. Drawing upon his extensive experience as an Indigenous doctor, Dr. Makokis delves into the historical context of colonialism and its enduring impact on the healthcare system. With deep reverence for Indigenous knowledge, traditions, and healing practices, he passionately emphasizes the need for healthcare professionals to recognize and honor the unique needs and perspectives of Indigenous communities.

    Through captivating storytelling and real-life examples, Dr. Makokis guides participants on a journey of understanding, inviting them to critically examine the colonial barriers that exist within the healthcare system and actively work towards their dismantlement. He offers practical insights and strategies for cultivating equitable, inclusive, and effective healthcare practices that empower Indigenous individuals and communities to reclaim their health and well-being.

    By the end of this thought-provoking presentation, participants will gain a heightened awareness of the profound impact of colonialism on Indigenous health, as well as a renewed commitment to fostering culturally sensitive approaches within their own healthcare practices. Dr. Makokis’s powerful message serves as a catalyst for positive change, inspiring attendees to play an active role in promoting health equity and justice for Indigenous populations.

doctoring the spirit – compassion, accessibility & holistic care

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Dr. James Makokis draws upon his extensive experience treating Indigenous and LGBTQ2S individuals to emphasize the importance of compassionate care, accessibility, and holistic healing. Within the healthcare system, individuals facing gender dysphoria often encounter mental health challenges, substance abuse, and even thoughts of suicide when their needs are not adequately addressed.

    Indigenous patients often experience a lack of trust in the healthcare system and limited access to appropriate services, stemming from historical mistreatment and the suppression of Indigenous medicine and traditions due to colonialism. In his practice, Dr. Makokis takes a patient-centered approach, dedicating time to get to know each individual and understand their unique social and psychological circumstances.

    By cultivating empathy and building a foundation of trust, he creates a safe space for his patients to share their experiences, ensuring that their needs are fully understood and addressed. Dr. Makokis advocates for the LGBTQ2S community beyond his practice, actively championing human rights and acceptance. His success in treating transgender patients stems from his commitment to continuous learning and his ability to combine natural remedies with evidence-based medicine.

    Dr. Makokis practices medicine with a unique blend of compassion, sensitivity, and love, demonstrating a sincere dedication to helping patients navigate their gender dysphoria. His Two-Spirit perspective, personal journey, and deep understanding of the multifaceted challenges faced by Indigenous populations allow him to provide comprehensive care that considers the diverse aspects of an individual’s well-being. Through a progressive and holistic approach, he incorporates patient-focused care and considers the social determinants of health to tailor treatment plans to each patient’s unique needs.

    Dr. Makokis shares insights on how to provide effective and culturally sensitive care for Indigenous peoples, aiming to rebuild trust by integrating traditional values, medicine, communication strategies, and cultural beliefs into healthcare practices. His firsthand knowledge of the trials and tribulations faced by transgender and Indigenous patients positions him as a leading advocate for their well-being.

    Driven by a passion for enhancing patient outcomes, Dr. Makokis’s innovative and patient-focused approach to medicine challenges conventional treatments and medical practices, combining research with compassionate care. Through this presentation, Dr. Makokis educates audiences on the importance of spiritual healing, compassion, accessibility, and holistic care in healthcare settings.

    His unique perspective and dedication to patient well-being inspire healthcare professionals to adopt a more comprehensive and empathetic approach, through patient and cultural-centred care, promoting a healthcare environment that respects and uplifts the diverse needs of all individuals.

dr. james makokis - custom presentation topics

  • Virtual PresentationKeynote PresentationWorkshop SessionHalf Day Training
  • Dr. James Makokis’ Customized Presentations on LGBTQ2 Topics: 

    • Hormone Replacement Therapy
    • Treatment of LGBTQ2S in Healthcare
    • Preventative Health
    • LGBTQ2S/Two-Spirit Health
    • LGBTQ2S Support Systems
    • LGBTQ2S/Two-Spirit Youth
    • Two-Spirit Variations and Celebration
    • Traditional History of Two-Spirit
    • LGBTQ2S Mental Health
    • LGBTQ2S Access to Health Services
    • LGBTQ2S 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
    • HIV/AIDS
    • 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
Dr. James Makokis travels from Edmonton, Alberta & delivers customized and tailored keynote speeches, presentations, workshops and training sessions. on the topics enlisted below. These services are designed for a variety of audiences, industries, and event types and event formats.


An amazing Two Spirit leader. The future looks brighter because of leaders like him. Dr. James Makokis is extremely well spoken, charismatic and down to earth. I found his presentation engaging, motivating and inspiring.

Canadian Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates (CSGNA)

Dr. Makokis presentation at Prism Energy ERG, Indigenous ERG, CARES (Caretakers) ERG and Women @ Enbridge ERG, was one of the best we have heard and the message what we all needed to hear. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from folks – we all enjoyed hearing your stories.


We value difference in people because of gifts they bring to the community. Your inspiring story shows us the true value of acceptance and diversity. Thank you for the wonderful presentation

Tuma Young

2-Spirited L'nu!

On behalf of the Canadian College of Health Leaders and HealthCareCAN, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for your contribution to the 2021 Virtual National Health Leadership Conference program held on May 31 – Jun 1, 2021. We appreciate the time you took out of your busy schedule to join us and thank you for sharing your insights and expertise with our attendees and contributing to the quality of this conference. From the feedback we received, the conference was a great success. Your session evaluation results are attached. It was a pleasure to work with you and we wish to thank you once again for your contribution to the success of the conference.

Francine St-Martin Director ,

Canadian College of Health Leaders Co-Chair
National Health Leadership Conference

On behalf of the Mount Royal Staff Association – Professional Development Committee, we extend our sincerest thanks. Your presentation, Building on Indigenous Values, was a fantastic addition to our PD Days offering this year. Our committee distributed a survey to all attendees that included questions specific to your session; the results are below. 100% of survey respondents who attended your session enjoyed you and the content you provided, over 95% of them learned something new, and over 92% would like to see you return as a speaker for future PD offerings. From the many positive comments, we know that MRU staff really appreciated the knowledge and stories you were able to share....

Courtney Montgomery

Professional Development Day Committee
Mount Royal University

Dr. James Makokis is brilliant at explaining indigenous knowledge & approaches in relation to Western medicine & history

Chad Park

Chief Innovation Officer, Director, Sustainability Strategist
The Natural Step Canada, Energy Futures Lab, Partnership

Articles & Media

It’s all too common for Indigenous patients to face racism and neglect

The Globe and Mail

To improve 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...

Cree doctor hopes for positive changes post-pandemic


‘If Indigenous physicians themselves and are seeing those types of overt racism then what happens to our patients who come from the communities…’

A Cree doctor's caring approach to treating transgender patients;


The Saddle Lake Cree man has known he wanted to be a doctor for a long time: since he was four years old, according to his online biography. He laughs about the detail when asked. "It was just something that I was always interested in," he said. It took him a little longer to focus on...


Bill Flanagan

Education and Representation: James Makokis in Conversation with U of A President Bill Flanagan



Face to Face



Beyond the Social: Chapter 19 with James and Patricia Makokis


Coming Soon!

How to book Dr. James Makokis for an event?

Dr. James Makokis keynote speaker is an expert presenter and has a wide range of experience speaking to a wide variety of audiences and organizations. Dr. James Makokis delivers keynotes, workshops & training sessions. They may also host or emcee events. Hire Dr. James Makokis from Edmonton, Alberta for your event to inspire the audience to take action and make change in their work and their lives. Your workplace will benefit from our keynote speaker and their keynote talks and speeches will shift the mindsets or behaviours for the audience members in Canada. 

Interested in booking Dr. James Makokis for an event?

Are you looking to hire Dr. James Makokis for your event? Dr. James Makokis Edmonton, Alberta is a dynamic and engaging speaker that offers audiences researched content paired with expertise and a dynamic speaking ability. Dr. James Makokis is also a Canadian corporate consultant and coach and facilitates workshops and training sessions for a corporate audience. Dr. James Makokis is an expert keynote presenter and speaks on wide variety of topics. Hiring a great speaker for your event is important and working with a thought leader like Dr. James Makokis from Speakers Canada’s roster will engage audiences into the content of the presentation to bring awareness and a fresh perspective for their approach to their work and their lives. Book Dr. James Makokis to educate, motivate and activate the audience through an interactive and entertaining presentation at corporate meetings and gatherings.

Known as a popular key note speaker in Canada, Dr. James Makokis creates life changing experiences for the participants with practical insights and strategic advice they can implement right after the session. Working with a one our leading expert speaker like Dr. James Makokis from Edmonton, Alberta offers organizations a fresh perspective to assist the people of the organization. No matter if it is a government, association, or business crowd, Dr. James Makokis is a perfect speaker for your event. Through unique practical insights for trending topics and years experience speaking to different organizations, Dr. James Makokis focuses on changing individuals to make better decisions at work and their lives. No matter if you are holding an in person or virtual event, having an influential speaker such as Dr. James Makokis will engage, motivate, and activate the audience to make a change in their lives and inspire action for results to meet organizational goals. Your workforce will benefit from Dr. James Makokis’s presentations and speeches, with measurable results set to shift the people of the organization and core direction of the company. Book Dr. James Makokis speaker for your annual general meeting, conference, summit, or convention in Canada.

How much does it cost to hire Dr. James Makokis for a keynote presentation or virtual event?

Dr. James Makokis is an expert professional key note speaker with a lot of experience speaking and delivering engaging talks to organizations and audiences in Canada. Each of Speaker Bureau Canada’s talent have different ways to assess their fees, and Dr. James Makokis speaker fee ranges depending on the size of the audience, event format (in person or virtual), event location, and if the organization booking them is a non profit, association, government department/government agency or business/corporation. The speakers we work with are flexible with their fees, and it is important for us to learn more about your event before we approach them, as it is our role to work for you, and to help you find a speaker within budget. 

Please contact Speakers Bureau of Canada and provide us with your event details so that we can contact Dr. James Makokis to check availability or confirm the pricing and associated costs to hire a great speaker like Dr. James Makokis for your event. As Dr. James Makokis's agent and as a Canadian top speaker bureau and talent agency for speakers, we are able to propose each event opportunity from each host organization’s behalf to try to help you get in touch with Dr. James Makokis and confirm them for your in person or online meeting/event. We can also provide and advise on the booking process and potentially negotiate their fee. Speakers Canada is a client focused speaker agency, and we work for you in finding good speakers for your team meetings and booking processes.

Dr. James Makokis Disclaimer
Speakers Bureau Canada assists companies and event planning teams seeking to hire talent like Dr. James Makokis for speaking engagements, virtual meetings, conference appearances, training sessions and workshops facilitations. Our Canadian speakers bureau does not claim to exclusively represent Dr. James Makokis, however they are represented by Speakers Canada, and we work with them closely for their Canadian speaking opportunities and bookings. As Canada’s top speaker bureau, we represent Canadian motivational keynote speakers and professional guest speakers that will be available on your upcoming events date and location that are withing the budget. Our talented bureau speaker booking agency can help find business speakers or celebrity speakers that aligns with each organization, audience, event theme and the topic themes you hope for the speaker to address in their presentation. 

When SBC receives a request to book Dr. James Makokis we provide you with their speaker fees, travel costs and check their schedules. We work closely with the host organization’s event planning team and the speaker to handle the logistics and to relay or negotiate associated costs. Our talented team members then will work with our talent directly or their agent/manager/assistant to confirm the Canadian speaker fee and travel expenses, so that event planning teams can receive an official quote for the speaker appearing at the event. Speaker fees and travel costs vary per speaker and our role is to contact Dr. James Makokis about your event, after we have connected with the event organizers to learn all the event details and/or conference program. Each booking request is unique since session durations and audience sizes can vary which may affect the speaker’s fees. If you are looking to hire Dr. James Makokis, we recommend filling out the booking request form so a booking agent from Speakers Bureau Canada can get in touch with our talent to help you coordinate with your team to engage the speaker for a successful event.

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