Health is Where the Heart is | Community of Innovation Podcast, Episode 12

Natural herbs and leaves.

This is part three of our four-part COVID-19 mini-series.


What is health and how can we access it? These are questions facing many Canadian communities as they deal with the challenges presented by COVID-19. In part three of our four-part COVID-19 mini-series, created in partnership with Baycrest@Home, we’ll learn about holistic health and wellness from an Indigenous perspective with Elder Ethel Starblanket-Dubois from the Starblanket Cree Nation, Dr. Carrie Bourassa, Scientific Director of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, and Sadie Anderson, Lab Manager at Morning Star Lodge.

Join our guests and our hosts, Dr. Allison Sekuler and Dr. Rosanne Aleong, as they dive into important topics such as creating access to culturally safe resources that incorporate a communal approach to health, the importance of staying connected to the land, and the ways past and present trauma caused by residential schools and the Sixties Scoop have amplified the effects of the pandemic in Indigenous communities. We’ll hear our guests talk about their own unique experiences as Indigenous People and how, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, they continue to draw strength – and a sense of health – from their culture.

Listen to this week’s episode:

Listen to part two of our series:


Learn more about our guests:

Ethel Starblanket Dubois


Ethel Starblanket-Dubois was born and raised at Star Blanket Cree Nation into a family lineage of political leadership. After spending much of her childhood years in a Residential School, Dubois went on to complete a Certificate of Indian Social Work from the Saskatoon Indian Cultural College with elder support and guidance, and a bachelor’s degree of social work. For more than 25 years, Ethel has worked as a mental health professional with various Indigenous groups, including the Star Blanket Cree Nation, Piapot Cree Nation, Carry the Kettle First Nation, and Peepeekisis First Nation, to name just a few. Across her varied career, Dubois has also worked as a trainer in cultural sensitivity, a Treaty Women’s Coordinator, a truant officer and home visitor, researcher, and teaching assistant.

Dr. Carrie Bourassa


Dr. Carrie Bourassa is the Scientific Director of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (IIPH) and a Professor of Community Health & Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also an Adjunct Professor in the Faculties of Education and Kinesiology & Health Studies at the University of Regina, and the Nominated Principal Investigator for Morning Star Lodge, as well as the Cultural Safety, Evaluation, Training and Research lab, set to be built by 2021. As Scientific Director of IIPH, she leads the advancement of a national health research agenda to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples in Canada. In Spring 2020, Dr. Bourassa was appointed as the Indigenous engagement lead for the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force and the Indigenous lead for the Rapid Response team, Saskatchewan Health Authority. Dr. Bourassa is Métis and belongs to the Riel Métis Council of Regina Inc. (RMCR, Local #34).

Sadie Anderson


Sadie Anderson (Neé Bellegarde) is a Plains Cree woman registered to the Peepeekisis First Nation. She grew up all over the provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and has returned to Regina after living abroad in the United States for a number of years. Anderson has a Bachelor of Arts in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Regina/First Nations University of Canada. Before coming back to Regina to be closer to her family, Anderson worked in the public and private sectors and operated her own successful business in the United States for several years. Anderson now works as the Lab Manager for Morning Star Lodge. When she’s not working or taking care of family, she can be found knitting.


Podcast Theme music: “Air Hockey Saloon” by Chris Zabriskie, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License