wâhkôtowin: A nehiyaw Ethical Analysis of Anti-Indigenous Racism in Canadian Nursing


  • Meghan Eaker University of Alberta




Anti-Indigenous racism, nursing ethics, wâhkôtowin, settler colonialism


Indigenous peoples in the settler state of Canada face racism on a daily basis, including in their interactions with nurses and the healthcare system. Canadian Nursing consistently fails to recognize their role in continuing to perpetrate anti-Indigenous racism. Many nurses are not taught enough about Indigenous history, settler colonialism and anti-racism to be able to recognize anti-Indigenous racism in practice, let alone effectively address it. Often the western based ethical principles nurses are taught in schools are weaponized against Indigenous peoples in practice. I propose using the nehiyaw (Cree) concept of wâhkôtowin as an ethical perspective that can help nurses tackle the problem of anti-Indigenous racism.


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Author Biography

Meghan Eaker, University of Alberta

Meghan Eaker is a nehiyaw iskwew (Cree woman) of mixed Cree and European ancestry. She is a member of the Woodland Cree First Nation and grew up in amiskwachiy waskahikhan (Edmonton, AB). She worked as a child psychiatric Nurse at the Montreal Children’s Hospital after completing her Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BScN) at McGill in 2016 and is currently a Masters of Nursing student. In her Nursing career she is passionate about improving health care for indigenous people. Her research focuses on developing the capacity of Indigeous nursing, specifically supporting the education of Inuit Nurses.


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How to Cite

Eaker, M. (2021). wâhkôtowin: A nehiyaw Ethical Analysis of Anti-Indigenous Racism in Canadian Nursing. Witness: The Canadian Journal of Critical Nursing Discourse, 3(1), 31–44. https://doi.org/10.25071/2291-5796.93