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Influencing Change in Community Health Nursing

Co-hosts of The Four: Wendy Whiteber, Bevann Fox, Melissa Obey, Samantha Racette


Indigenous people are over represented in the health care system.  This is a direct result of systematic policies that were developed to eradicate the Indigenous population from this country.  These acts of cultural genocide have created extreme health disparities between the Indigenous people and the general Canadian population.  Without adequate knowledge of the true history of Indigenous people, racism and stereotyping will continue to be rampant among healthcare practitioners. Unless educators willfully guide our next generation of learners to develop into culturally sensitive leaders this practice will continue and the health outcomes for the Indigenous population with remain the same or continue to deteriorate.  The modern social issues and poverty that plague Indigenous communities in our country adversely affect the health outcomes of its people.  They experience high rates of mental illness, alcoholism, fetal alcohol syndrome, domestic violence, diabetes, and tuberculosis. Without wholistic intervention and culturally sensitive care these health issues will continue to spiral. As future leaders in community health it is imperative that these historical factors are taking into consideration as well as taking the time necessary to work with the patient in respecting their cultural needs.  Since the inception of the Reserve System, Residential Schools, and the Indian Act, First Nations people inherently experience unequal power relations with the rest of the Canadian population. Identifying mitigating factors that have contributed to the poor health outcomes of Indigenous people, learning the true history of First Nations and Metis people, and being sensitive to their cultural needs will not only have a positive effect on learners/practitioners but will also assist in elevating the poor health outcomes of Indigenous people. Acquiring the necessary tools to become component health practitioners in the community will assist in developing best practices when working with Indigenous patients.


About the speakers...


Bevann Fox

Bevann’s vision is to bring Indigenous presence and voice into the television industry by showcasing Indigenous peoples’ success as well as breaking the stereotypes portrayed by mainstream society. 


Bevann Fox is a member of Pasqua First Nation. She has received a BA in Arts and Culture from the University of Regina and is currently completing her MBA.  She is an inspiring author who published her first novel in 2011.  Abstract Love is being utilized as a teaching resource for grade twelve Indigenous Studies classes across the province.  She is currently in the process of publishing two additional novels. In 2014, she was awarded the YWCA Women of Distinction Award – Cultural and Heritage for her contributions to the preservation, awareness, research and development of First Nations culture.  Bevann is the founder, co-host, and community producer of The Four. 


Wendy Whitebear

Wendy’s vision for the show is to provide a venue for Indigenous people to have a voice in their healing journey that will hopefully have a positive outcome for future generations.


Wendy Whitebear is a member of the White Bear First Nation. The majority of her work and volunteer activities are focused on the betterment of First Nations communities, people, and youth. Wendy has developed and implemented programs and initiatives that pertain to the wellness, personal development, career, and financial planning for First Nations people and community organizations.  In 2013, she was the recipient of the Service of Excellence – Spirit Award for her active participation in the University of Regina’s Indigenization efforts as well as assisting in a variety of other campus initiatives.  Wendy has been a community producer and co-host of The Four for two seasons. 


Melissa Obey

Melissa’s vision for the show is to promote community involvement in working towards positive solutions for our future.


Melissa Obey is a member of the Cowessess First Nation. She is a Primary Health Care Provider within the Saskatchewan Health Authority.  In the very near future, Melissa will pursue her goal in becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. Melissa is very active in her children’s extracurricular activities in sports and cultural activities.  Although she is extremely busy with her children, she still finds time to pursue her favorite activity, beading.  This is Melissa’s first season on The Four as a community producer and co-host.


Samantha Racette

Samantha’s vision for the show is to increase Indigenous women’s voices on television and social media to assist in breaking the silence of our lived experience.


Samantha Racette has been a resident of Saskatchewan for 30 years, but was born in Shoal Lake, Manitoba. Her vision in the show is to involve the Metis voice.  Currently she is working towards a Bachelor of Health Studies degree at the University of Regina and continues to work within the non-profit sector with women in crisis and assuring client safety and integrity. Samantha most enjoys creating positive relationships with others to address common issues and take collective action from the grassroots level. Samantha is a compassionate, strong and proud Métis woman who not only loves music, but also enjoys the outdoors and camps every chance she gets. She believes that gratitude is everything and being grateful for the little things in life will keep you humble and on a good path. This is Samantha’s first season on The Four as a community producer and co-host.