Jean Cuthand Goodwill
Goodwill was the first Aboriginal woman in Canada to complete nursing training. It
was the year 1954. Goodwill went on to pursue and incredible career
based on a bicultural view of the health care system:
Goodwill was sensitive
to the traditions of Aboriginal peoples in a way that the non-native
nurses were not. Goodwill hoped that nurses of Native
ancestry could reinforce the healing traditions and beliefs of Aboriginal peoples
while at the same time making available the best that modern nursing could
offer to Aboriginal communities" (Drees and McBain, 61).
began her career in Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan and then moved to a head
nurse position at the LaRonge nursing station. After a brief time working
in Bermuda, her work focused on ensuring appropriate health services for Aboriginal
communities; for their cultural traditions and social conditions. To
this end, Goodwill was a member of many committees and associations:
She was executive
director of the India-Métis Friendship Centre in
Winnipeg, head of the Department of Indian Health Studies at the Saskatchewan
Indian Federated College of the University of Regina, a member of the Aboriginal
Women's Association of Canada, to name but a few. She was also a founding
member of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada, where she served as
president for seven years" (Library and Archives Canada).
was also involved in politics, becoming the first Aboriginal woman to be appointed
special advisor to the minister of National Health and Welfare.
exceptional career and commitment to Aboriginal health earned her several prestigious
distinctions. The Manitoba Nurses Association created the Jean Goodwill
Award. Goodwill received the award in 1981. She received an honourary
Doctorate of Law degree from Queen's University in 1986 and was made an Officer
of the Order of Canada in 1992.
was a role model for all Saskatchewan nurses. Her focus on Aboriginal
health was much needed work. Goodwill passed away in 1997.