Spring issue features focus on Indigenous health care

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Indigenous Knowledge Keeper enlightens NOSM students

Perry McLeod-Shabogesic, from Nipissing First Nation, is an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper who has been working with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) community for 10 years. McLeod-Shabogesic, Director of Traditional Programming at Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre, has been involved in a wide range of activities with the School, including orientation week for new medical students and the annual CampMed for high school students interested in a career in health care. He also shares stories with NOSM medical students, faculty, and staff at Elder-on-Campus sessions.
Though McLeod-Shabogesic is humble and not one to call himself an Elder, he has a great deal of knowledge to share with those willing to learn more about the Indigenous culture. “If people see me as an Elder, they will say that,” says McLeod-Shabogesic. “As life goes on, more and more people see you in the same way and that’s when you’ll make your way to full acknowledgement of being an Elder. But the Elders I know are uncomfortable with calling themselves an Elder because there is a certain level of humility that you need to carry.”
It’s important to McLeod-Shabogesic that he shares his worldview, based on his life experiences, with those who are willing to learn more about Indigenous culture. Often called Anzoked, meaning storyteller, McLeod-Shabogesic says it’s important to him to bring a different understanding or worldview to NOSM students who may one day be learning or practising in a First Nation community.
“I’d like to give them a little bit of understanding to start from when they come to our communities. My name means storyteller, so part of my role is to share stories and understanding,” says McLeod-Shabogesic. “Being able to be a part of the journey of the School, even in a small way, is an honour for me,” he said.

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