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IPHRC would like to congratulate Elder Betty McKenna on her 2012 Saskatchewan Health Excellence Award in the "Health of a Population" category. She was nominated by IPHRC researchers Dr. Carrie Bourassa and Dr. Mary Hampton for her involvement in numerous health projects and her commitment to promoting health, wellness and culture in the Aboriginal community.
"Elder Betty is one of the most amazing individuals in our community," says Dr. Bourassa. "She gives of herself for the betterment of her community on a daily basis. She has provided guidance to me not only professionally but personally as well. The ceremonies she holds are open to all and she graciously shares her knowledge and wisdom in order to help those who are on healing journeys. I cannot think of a more worthy recipient of this award."
In her typical forward-thinking fashion, McKenna recognizes the importance of health research but remains humble about her contributions.
"This is truly a collcaboration of my peoples' traditional health knowledge interwoven with the best practices of western health," says McKenna. "For our communities, this means a healthier people and success in the future for all Saskatchewan citizens. It is an honour to serve my people in this capacity but I am not alone in seeing that we are all in the same canoe. We all need to paddle."
Elder Betty McKenna is from the Anishnabae Nation, Shoal River Band and is very knowledgeable about many traditional teachings which she has learned from her grandmother and from teachings of various other elders. She is the Elder in Residence, First Nations and Métis Education at the Regina Public School Board as well as the guiding elder for RESOLVE (Research and Education to End Violence and Abuse) Saskatchewan, provides leadership to many research projects including: Completing the Circle: End of Life Care with Aboriginal Families with Dr. Mary Hampton and Dr. Carrie Bourassa, Understanding from Within: Developing Community-Driven and Culturally Safe Models for Understanding and Responding to Neurological Conditions among Aboriginal Women with the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Rural and Northern Response to Intimate Partner Violence with Dr. Mary Hampton and Aboriginal Grandmothers Caring for Grandchildren with Kerrie Strathy, Dr. Carrie Bourassa and Dr. Wendee Kubik, to name a few. She is also co-author on several peer reviewed publications and sits on two graduate committees at the University of Regina.
"Betty McKenna is a recognized and renowned elder among First Nations people, " adds Dr. Hampton. "As a non-native woman, I have learned so much that has healed me as a person and has a woman, thanks to the generous sharing that Elder Betty has given me...the guidance and teaching she offers provides healing to so many."
For more information about this story, please contact:
Cassandra J. Opikokew
Knowledge Translation & Communications
Indigenous Peoples' Health Research Centre (IPHRC)
CK 115 University of Regina
3737 Wascana Parkway
Regina, SK S4S 0A2
Ph: (306) 337-2510
Cell: (306) 537-2043
Fax: (306) 585-5694