This Indigenous Nurses Day, get to know Nikki Rose Hunter-Porter, who has joined BC Cancer in a new role as clinical nurse specialist, Indigenous Cultural Safety.

April 10, 2024 is Indigenous Nurses Day – an opportunity to recognize the irreplaceable role Indigenous nurses play in British Columbia’s (B.C.) and Canada’s health care system. BC Cancer’s Indigenous nurses provide culturally inclusive health care in communities across the province and are a significant source of comfort and safety for many Indigenous Peoples who access our systems of care.

Nikki Rose Hunter-Porter, Secwépemc from St’uxwstews, Bonaparte First Nation, is a registered nurse with an Advanced Practice Master of Nursing degree. She recently joined BC Cancer in an exciting new role for the organization, as a clinical nurse specialist, Indigenous Cultural Safety with the Nursing and Allied Health Research and Knowledge Translation team. This new role is an important step forward in building Indigenous nursing leadership at BC Cancer.

We asked Nikki Rose to share a bit about herself, her new role and about what Indigenous Nurses Day means to her.

Please join us in welcoming Nikki Rose!

Get to know Nikki Rose

“Weyt-k, Nikki Rose Hunter-Porter ren skwekwst te St’uxwstews re st7e7kwen.

My name is Nikki Rose Hunter-Porter, and I humbly and proudly situate myself as Secwépemc from St’uxwstews, Bonaparte First Nation, located within the southern interior of B.C. I grew up both within St’uxwstews and Lil’wat First Nations (St’atimc), and I am grateful to call both places my home.

Currently, I live within Secwepemcúl'ecw, within the traditional and unceded territory of Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc, colonially known as Kamloops, B.C.

My passion for Indigenous health and wellness stems from my own lived and living experiences as Secwépemc, and from the mentorship and guidance I receive from the Peoples within community.”

Nurturing authenticity in Indigenous health and wellness

“I completed my Master of Nursing degree at Thompson Rivers University, with a focus on Advanced Practice Nursing within Indigenous health. My nursing experience reflects years of clinical practice working with First Nations communities in both rural and remote areas and research experience working alongside the BC Indigenous Health Nursing Research Chair.

Through my lived and living experiences with Indigenous Nursing Practice, Indigenous research methodologies, and connection to my homelands of Secwepemcúl'ecw, I have been able to lean into my authentic self and support the parallel pathways of health and wellness, westernized and Indigenous, to ultimately support my Peoples.

I am guided by Secwépemc laws of Knucwentw’ecw (help one another) and Y’ucwentwecw (take care of one another) through this work.”

Moving forward in the new role

“I am excited to have joined BC Cancer in a new role for the organization, as clinical nurse specialist, Indigenous Cultural Safety. Within this new role, I am committed to supporting a collective dedication to reconciliation, advancing Indigenous cultural safety, and actively contributing to the eradication of Indigenous-specific racism within health care systems.

Indigenous nurses play a vital role within our health care systems, as they bring their unique gifts and skills within their distinct health and wellness perspectives, practices, and approaches. Indigenous nurses have been at the forefront of our health care system, leading the way to improve a health care system that is inequitable and unjust towards Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous nurses also provide an immense amount of comfort and safety to Indigenous Peoples who access our systems of care. Indigenous nurses have paved the way for younger nurses, such as myself, and Indigenous Nurses Day is a day where we can honour and recognize these often unseen contributions of Indigenous nurses.”

Celebrating Indigenous Nurses Day

“Indigenous Nurses Day is celebrated annually on April 10 – the birth date of Edith Monture (Six Nations), the first Indigenous nurse in Canada. This year marks our third year celebrating Indigenous Nurses Day, recognizing and upholding our rights to self-determine our celebrations surrounding our Indigenous nurse leaders.

Rose Casper of the St’at’imc Nation (Tsal’alh) was the first Indigenous person to become a nurse in colonially Western Canada in 1955. As a child, I spent many years in the beautiful community of Tsal’alh, and it is an honour to recognize Rose and her strength, leadership, Knowledge, courage, and perseverance on Indigenous Nurses Day.

Indigenous Nurses Day is about reflecting on the leadership, strength, and perseverance of Indigenous nurses, despite the colonial history of the nursing profession within Canada. Indigenous nurses bring together the science of nursing within their distinct and diverse Knowledges of their Peoples, communities and land, a deep understanding and lived experience of the history and on-going colonization of Indigenous Peoples, and the strengths and gifts of who we are as Peoples.”

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