Indigenous Nurses Day Recognizes the Contributions of Indigenous Nurses

April 09, 2024
BCNU re-affirms its commitment to decolonizing health care and ensuring cultural safety for all Indigenous peoples

Thanks to the joint lobbying efforts of the BC Nurses’ Union, First Nations Health Authority, Métis Nation of BC, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC, BC College of Nurses and Midwives and BC Indigenous Health Nursing Research Program, the Province of BC has issued a proclamation recognizing April 10 as Indigenous Nurses Day.

Indigenous Nurses Day recognizes the significant contributions and perspectives Indigenous nurses, past and present, bring to our health-care system.

The date of April 10 honours Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture, Canada’s first Indigenous nurse, who was born on April 10, 1890. Because of racist policies at the time barring Indigenous people from studying nursing in Canada, Monture attended nursing school in New York, graduating in 1914 at the top of her class. BCNU also honours Rose Casper, the first Indigenous nurse in Western Canada. Casper, a residential school survivor, served as a nurse for 50 years in BC, retiring in 2012.

As we reflect on the tenacity, courage and commitment shown by Indigenous nurses providing care to their patients and communities while navigating systemic racism they have experienced, BCNU re-affirms its commitment to continue learning from Indigenous peoples, acknowledging and addressing racism and helping to create a health-care system that is culturally safe and welcoming for all.

Addressing the under-representation of Indigenous peoples in the health-care system is critical in ensuring cultural safety for all. BCNU is committed to supporting the recruitment and retention of Indigenous health-care workers – one of the 94 calls to action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. The union was successful last spring in negotiating measures into its collective agreement that supports this call to action, as well as a commitment from all parties to work together to address the ongoing harms of colonialism.

If you are NOT receiving updates, news, and events emailed to you, log in to the BCNU Member Portal and update your information.