C.I.N.A. Board of Directors

The Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is comprised of three (3) Executive Committee members elected from the Board of Directors by the membership.

Lisa Bourque-Bearskin, RN, MN PhD
President

Dr. Lisa Bourque Bearskin, RN PhD, is a member of Beaver Lake Cree Nation who works as a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta. As a single mother of two sets of twins, Dr. Bourque Bearskin has been a practicing nurse for over 25 years. She is passionate about addressing health inequities and health disparities in Aboriginal Health and advocates for cultural safe practice guided by Indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Dr. Bourque Bearskin has worked for First Nations, Inuit Health as a Community Health Nurse and for Alberta Health Services as clinical nurse specialist. She has developed and delivered an Aboriginal Licensed Practical Nursing Program with Masckwacis Cree Nation in partnership with NorQuest College, taught in the Arctic Nursing program (BScN) in Nunavut and teaches in the Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program at the University of Alberta. Including teaching in the first mandatory Aboriginal education course delivered to all Education students by the Indigenous Peoples Education Program in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at the University of Alberta. Her vision is to support and work with nurses to lead and advance Indigenous knowledge in nursing practice, education research and policy development.

Ada Roberts, RN, NP
Vice-President

Ester Powell, BScN
Director North of 60

Esther Maani-Ulujuk Powell is a Registered Nurse who grew up in the Nunavut community of Arviat and is now living in Rankin Inlet. Esther’s background includes extensive experience in Community Health Nursing in the eight communities that are beautifully set along the coast of the Hudson Bay. As a Manager of Home and Community Care for the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, Esther looks after the Home Care Nursing needs in her region. She has a background in Emergency Nursing as a float nurse for the Health Centres in the 8 communities, Correctional Nursing and is now in Management. Esther enjoys working in her first language of Inuktitut in her home region and grew up living part of the year on the land with her parents and siblings. Esther has a passion passed down from her ancestors for the celebration of life, her people and her career. Esther takes advantage of every opportunity to help teach about her culture and the importance of recognizing barriers to delivering clear and culturally appropriate nursing to the Inuit population and the ways that Inuit communicate. Esther was named after her late great-great grandmother, Maani Ulujuk who held Esther as a new born and blessed her to have many talents. In Inuit culture, naming of babies was a ceremonial event with a prophecy/blessing provided for each child born. Esther was raised to know her Inuk history and the life experience of her name sake

Bernice Downey, RN, MN, PhD
Ontario/Quebec

Dr. Bernice Downey is a woman of Oji/Cree and Celtic heritage, a mother and a grandmother. She is a Registered Nurse and a Medical Anthropologist with research interests in health literacy and traditional knowledge for Indigenous populations.

She teaches part time for the Faculty of Social Science, Indigenous Studies Program and Anthropology at McMaster University. She is is currently appointed as the Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead for the Toronto-Central Regional Cancer Program. She is also a Special Advisor and Associate Researcher for the Well Living House - at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Bernice’s professional experience includes Sole Proprietor of her consulting company; 'Minoayawin - Good Health Consulting'; Chief Executive Officer of the National Aboriginal Health Organization, and Executive Director of the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association,

She is an experienced administrator, facilitator, and an organizational and systemic change agent. She is a current Board member of the De Dwa ads Dehs-Nye’s- Aboriginal Health Access Centre in Hamilton, and the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association. She is a life - long advocate in the work towards addressing the serious health inequalities among Indigenous populations in Canada and supporting Indigenous communities in a reclaimative approach to health and well-being.

Charlene Rattlesnake, RN, MN
British Columbia/Alberta

Charlene is a Saulteaux mother of 5 adult children and grandmother of 4. Charlene went from working as an Aboriginal Liaison in a hospital setting into the nursing program at the University of Alberta where she completed a BScN in 2006. Since then she has worked primarily in Community Health in the Maskwacis area First Nations in central Alberta. Charlene then went on to complete a Master in Nursing program from the same university in the Community Health Stream in 2014. Charlene is passionate about Indigenous Nursing and would love to continue nursing for Indigenous populations for the remainder of her career. She firmly believes more energy needs to be directed into the preventative aspect of health care along with the reintegration of our traditional ways of healing in order to improve the health status of the Indigenous people of Canada. Charlene also loves mentoring potential and current nursing students, especially Indigenous ones who, she believes, will make a huge impact in the future of Indigenous nursing in the future.

Frances Desjarlais, RN, BScN
Saskatchewan/Manitoba

Frances grew up in Swan Lake where the traditional ways were practiced in the spiritual, cultural aspects, and learned traditional teachings through her parents, grandparents and elders in the community. Fran enjoys working with her Indigenous relations and strives to contribute to the improved wellness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. She is passionate about incorporating the past traditional ways of living to the present systems. She believes we have been given the gifts to take charge of our health and will continue to advocate in addressing the health inequities and health disparities facing the people but guided by our indigenous ways of knowing and being.

Fran works as the Regional Diabetes Coordinator, First Nation & Inuit Health Branch, at Manitoba Region. She graduated from the LPN program at Red River Community College and went on to the University of Manitoba’s Bachelor of Nursing Program in Winnipeg. Frances has worked in First Nation communities and the Diabetes Integration Project most of her career.

Pepper Pritty, RN BN MNRM (c)
Education

Pepper Pritty is an Anishinaabe Master’s prepared, registered nurse who specializes in Indigenous Health, prenatal/ postpartum care and diabetes through her work with Ninoshenh’s Teachings (Aunty’s Teachings). She is the Provincial Indigenous Equity Health Lead and Ministerial Public Health Practice Consultant at Manitoba Health and the new Director of Education for the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association. Prior to completing her Bachelors of Nursing, Pepper studied Psychiatric Nursing and has a background in Native Studies and Science. While in university, Pepper was the Chair of the Education Committee through student governance and went on to be elected Vice President and President for two terms with the Nursing Students’ Association. She is passionate about education and student mentorship and dedicated to advocating for the advancement of our nursing profession. Her broad clinical experience includes Primary Care, Public Health, Palliative Care & Palliative Home Care, Acute /Rural nursing, Emergency and Home Care. For the past 3 years, Pepper has worked as northern First Nations nurse with FNIHB, tribal council and agency. Her graduate studies work is interdisciplinary; and concentrates on First Nation water, housing and environmental issues and how they impact the health and wellbeing of Indigenous people. Her work incorporates videography and photo voice methodology and she has been doing First Nations research for the past 8 years. She is working towards a PhD in Indigenous Health and is committed to promoting reconciliation through the reclaiming of Indigenous culture and recovering traditional parenting skills that have been damaged and lost through residential schools and child foster care systems. She is honoured to have been elected to the Board of Directors and looks forward to advancing the nursing education agendas of CINA.

Caroline Chartrand, RN, BScN
Leadership

Caroline Chartrand originates from the Pine Creek First Nation in the West Region Tribal Council area, Manitoba. Her nursing career began at Red River Community College where she graduated in 1986 with a Licensed Practical Nursing Certificate. She continued her education on a part time basis and completed the Diploma in Nursing in 1988 and in 1994 received a Bachelor of Nursing Degree from the University of Manitoba. Since then, she has completed the Community Health Care Management Certificate (2000) through Assiniboine Community College, in Dauphin, Manitoba.

Throughout her nursing career, she has had the privilege to meet with some of the nursing leaders from yesteryear, and has been mentored by some exceptional nursing professors and political leaders. Caroline has received an Excellence in Professional Nursing Award from the College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba in May 2007. Caroline also has volunteered considerable time and effort various committees through the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and/or First Nations and Inuit Health. Caroline has thoroughly enjoyed the work of the many committees in various capacities advocating for the First Nations people throughout Manitoba. Caroline has enjoyed meeting new people and looks forward to striving for excellence in Nursing Services in First Nations communities.

Angeline Letendre RN, MN, PhD
Research

Dr. Angeline Letendre is Acting Vice-President, a current board member, and Research Chair at the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada (CINA). Dr. Letendre completed her doctoral research in Nursing in 2008 with Cree and Cree-Métis women in Alberta on the topic of cervical cancer and cervical cytology screening. Building on more than two decades of frontline nursing experience, the focus of Dr. Letendre’s career has been to contribute to the improved wellness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. This has included work in cultural competency skills development in Indigenous Nursing, community-based research and partnered activities at local, provincial and national levels, as well as cancer care strategy and program planning. Currently Angeline is a Research Scientist at the Alberta Cancer Prevention and Legacy Fund of Alberta Health Services leading strategy development in cancer prevention and screening with First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities in Alberta, as well as, the primary co-lead for two 3-year projects funded through the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Alberta and Alberta Health Services. Recently, Dr. Letendre has joined forces with researchers from Australia, New Zealand and the United States to investigate the cancer research interests for Indigenous peoples from these countries. Outcomes of this work promise to include the development of international researcher-level partnerships for the exploration, strategy development and recommendations in cancer-related research with Indigenous populations in the associated countries.

Marie Sanderson
Student Rep

Marie Sanderson is from Lac La Ronge, Saskatchewan and is of Woodland Cree descent. She attended the University of Regina to work toward a B.A. in Psychology before joining the Saskatchewan Collaborative B.Sc. in Nursing Program. Now she is a nursing student based out of Saskatoon and hopes to one day return to the North and utilize her knowledge. Marie is passionate about the North and First Nations issues, and looks forward to use these qualities as part of the Canadian Indigenous Nurses Association.

Rosella Kinoshameg, RN, BScN, Hon.D
Indigenous Knowledge/Elder

Rosella is Odawa/Ojibway from the Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation in Ontario. She has five children, seven grandchildren, and one great grandson. Rosella graduated from Marymount School of Nursing in 1968 before completing her BScN at the University of Ottawa in 1977. She has 48 years of nursing experience, mostly working with First Nations communities in Community Health Nursing; Home and Community Care; Long Term Care; and Community Support Services, and Maternal Child Health Nursing

Rosella has served on many volunteer boards, most recently, Nipissing Serenity Hospice (North Bay, Ontario) and Saint Elizabeth Health Care Foundation Board (Toronto), and various committees. She most recently served on the Catholic Aboriginal Council, CCCB, and presently serves on the Wasseandimikaaning-Anishinabe Spiritual Centre in Espanola, Ontario, the Canadian Martyrs’ Shrine in Midland, Ontario, Health Sciences North in Sudbury, Ontario, and Community Living Wikwemikong Anishinabek in Wikwemikong, Ontario. Rosella also served as a health board member of Wikwemikong, president of the Parish Council, was a band council member, and First Aid/CPR instructor. She received the Assiniwekanik Medal (Jean Goodwill Award) in 1989 and served as president of CINA from 2006-2010.

Rosella has Certification in Nishnaabemwin Immersion Instruction Program, from Bay Mills Community College in Brimley, Michigan. She was a recipient of (honorary) Doctor in Sacred Letters, 1996. She was mandated by Bishop Plouffe as Diocesan Order of Service (DOS) in 2000. In 2015, she was honoured with Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, "for Church and Pope" medal also known as Cross of Honour Medal, an award conferred by the Pope to the laity for distinguished service to the Church. In 2016 at RNAO/Sudbury Chapter, Sudbury’s Nursing Week Celebrations, Rosella was conferred with the distinction of Quarter Century Club member, a pin and certificate, for loyalty and support over the past 25 years.

Rosella recently retired from working six years this time around with Nipissing First Nation as the Maternal Child Health Nurse and the Immunization program. She is still involved as a consultant with Nipissing First Nation and also with the Long Term Care Program in Wikwemikong.

Cheryl Robbins, RN, NP, CNPE: F/AA
Non-Indigenous Rep

Cheryl Robbins is a Nurse Practitioner with over twenty-five years of experience in the nursing field. Born in British Colombia, she moved many times in her youth, finally settling in Alberta. She began her career at the Royal Alexandra Hospital where her foundation in nursing evolved. She moved to Louisiana in 1992 and worked in a variety of settings including the ER, ICU and senior management. She returned to Canada and in 2007 completed her Master of Nursing degree in Advanced Nurse Practice and is a Nurse Practitioner working with family, all ages. Cheryl is the former President of the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta (NPAA). She has, and continues to serve on various committees during and after the tenure of her leadership in the association. She was the NP expert on the Alberta Minister’s advisory committee for the development of Family care clinics. As well, she was the NP expert on the Alberta Chamber of Commerce Health Policy Committee for rural primary care practitioner recruitment and retention. Cheryl is currently working in Maskwacis Health Centre and providing locum coverage to rural emergency departments. She spends her free time with her husband and three boys.