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History, Vision, and Goals

(English follows below.)

ᐊᓂᐣ ᐅᐅᐁᐧ ᐁᐅᒋᑭᒋᐃᓀᐣᑕᑲᐧᐠ

ᐁᑲᐧ NOSM ᐱᒧᒋᑫᐃᐧᐣ ᑲᒪᐧᔦ ᒪᒋᒪᐡᑭᑭᐃᐧ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᑲᒥᑯᐊᐧᐠ ᐃᐃᐁᐧ ᒣᑲᐧᐨ 2005 ᑲᐊᐦᑭᐊᐧᐠ, ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᒪᐡᑭᑭᐃᐧ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᐣ ᑭᐊᐧᐸᑕᐦᐃᐁᐧᒪᑲᐣ ᒪᐊᐧᐨ ᑲᐧᔭᐠ ᒋᐃᐧᒋᔭᑲᓄᐊᐧᐨ ᐊᐃᐧᔭᐠ ᒥᓇ ᑕᔑᑫᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᒋᒥᓄᔭᑲᒪᑲᑭᐣ ᐅᐅᒪ ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ᙮ ᐁᑲᐧ ᓂᐡᑕᑦ ᑲᐊᓂ ᒪᒋᐊᐧᐁᐧᓇᒋᑲᓂᐊᐧᐠ, NOSM ᐱᒧᒋᑫᐃᐧᐣ ᐅᑭᐊᔭᒥᐦᐊᐣ ᐊᓂᔑᓇᐯᐃᐧ ᑕᔑᑫᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᐅᐅᒪ ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᑫᐃᔑᐸᐸᒥᓯᐨ ᒥᓇ ᑫᐃᔑᑲᓇᐊᐧᐸᑕᐠ ᓇᓇᑲ ᐱᒪᑎᓱᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᐅᐅᒪ ᓀᑫᑲᒥᑯᐠ᙮ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᐣ ᐅᒋᑲᑫᐧᑌ ᓇᑲᐁᐧᔑᒋᑫᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᐊᓂᐣ ᑫᐃᔑᒪᒋᐃᐧᑐᐊᐧᐨ ᐅᐅᐁᐧ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᐣ ᐁᐧᑎ ᐊᓂ ᓂᑲᐣ ᐅᒋ᙮

ᐁᑲᐧ ᐅᐅᒪ ᑲᐃᔑᑕᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᓂᑯᑕᐧᓱ ᐯᕑᓭᐣᐟ ᑲᑕᓯᓇᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ, ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᒪᒪᐤ ᓴᑲᓱᒥᑕᓇ ᐯᕑᓭᐣᐟ ᑕᑲᐧᐣ ᐊᐦᑭ ᑲᐃᔑᑲᐯᔑᓇᓂᐊᐧᐠ᙮ ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᐊᐃᐧᔭᐠ ᑲᐊᔭᐊᐧᐨ ᐅᑭᒥᑲᑕᓇᐊᐧ ᒥᓇ ᐅᑭᒋᑫᐣᑕᓇᐊᐧ ᐅᐅᐁᐧ ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᒪᐡᑭᑭᐃᐧ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᐣ ᒋᑕᑲᐧᐠ, ᒥᓇ ᐅᐅᐁᐧ ᑲᑭᐅᒋᐅᔑᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᒋᐃᐧᒋᐦᐃᔭᑲᓄᐊᐧᐨ ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᐊᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᐊᐃᐧᔭᐠ ᒥᓴᐊᐧᐨ ᐊᐊᐧᓀᓄᐊᐧᐨ, ᒥᓇ ᑲᐃᔑᑲᐯᔑᐊᐧᐨ ᐁᑲᐧ ᒋᒥᓇᑲᓄᐊᐧᐨ ᒪᐡᑭᑭᐃᐧ ᐃᐧᒋᐦᐃᐁᐧᐃᐧᐣ᙮

Created to be Accountable

Even before NOSM University’s Charter MD Class was welcomed in 2005, NOSM University demonstrated its commitment to improving the health of the peoples and communities of Northern Ontario. At the earliest stages of development, NOSM University engaged the Indigenous communities of Northern Ontario as part of its mandate to be accountable to the cultural diversity of the region. The School regularly solicits feedback from their invaluable experience and ideas to move the School forward.

Though home to only six percent of Ontario’s population, Northern Ontario comprises nearly 90 percent of the province’s geography. Northern Ontarians fought for and inspired the creation of NOSM University, which was developed to help realize the dream that all Northern Ontarians—no matter who they are, or where they live—have access to quality health care.

NOSM University Vision, Mission, Values and Goals

The NOSM University vision centers on innovative education, and research for a healthier Northern Ontario.  The mission is to improve the health of Northern Ontarians by being socially accountable in education and research programs and advocating for health equity. NOSM University values surround innovation, social accountability, collaboration, inclusiveness and respect. Learn more about NOSM University’s Vision, Mission and Values.

The Indigenous Affairs Unit, along with Francophone Affairs report to the Associate Dean, Equity and Inclusion. The Office of Equity and Inclusion support the NOSM community by promoting equity, increasing diversity, and strengthening the culture of inclusion among the School’s learners, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends, in collaboration with community and academic partners. Learn more


NOSM University is committed to the relationships with First Nations and Métis peoples of Northern Ontario.

Prior to NOSM University’s inception, First Nation and Métis organizations were at the forefront of the widespread community movement advocating for the establishment of NOSM University. NOSM U has remained committed to ensuring input, guidance, and direction from community is important and as such the Indigenous Partnership Gatherings were established and continue as a way to ensure that Indigenous Peoples of Northern Ontario have regular opportunities to provide formative input into the School. The Gatherings regularly bring together stakeholders from treaty organizations, Elders, physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals with experience in Indigenous health settings to learn from their invaluable experience, and hear their feedback and ideas to move the School forward.

This timeline traces the history of the School’s Indigenous Partnership Gatherings, from the first Gathering in 2003 to the present.

2003: Follow Your Dreams

In June of 2003, NOSM University hosted its first Indigenous Partnership Gathering in the Anishnaabeg community of Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation, near Kenora. The three-day gathering brought together over 130 delegates from Indigenous communities across the North. The report from this first Gathering served as a blueprint for the establishment of the Indigenous Affairs Unit and the Indigenous Reference Group, as well as the development of partnerships with Indigenous communities so that all NOSM University medical students have a mandatory four-week cultural immersion experience in their first year.


2006: Keeping the Vision Mii Kwen Daan

NOSM University and our Indigenous partners came together for the second time at Fort William First Nation in August 2006, after the School’s Charter Class had just completed their four-week immersive Indigenous community placement. Nearly all of the Indigenous Local Community Coordinators were on hand to share their experiences of having medical students in their communities.


2008: Indigenous Research Gathering

In 2008, NOSM University hosted its first Indigenous Research Gathering in Thunder Bay. This Gathering provided an opportunity for Indigenous peoples and health researchers—including researchers who themselves are Indigenous—to come together to acknowledge past experiences, conduct ceremonies for healing, generate future opportunities for positive and respectful relationships between Indigenous communities and researchers, and plan a new and positive path forward.

2011: Living the Vision

NOSM University and the Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) co-hosted the School’s third Indigenous Partnership Gathering in May 2011 in Sudbury. The MNO and NOSM University have a range of common goals, and following the opening of the workshop, the two organizations officially announced and signed a historic collaboration agreement.


2014: Walking the Vision

In August 2014, Chapleau Cree First Nation hosted NOSM University’s fourth Indigenous Partnership Gathering. NOSM University senior leaders, faculty and staff gathered to report on the tangible progress NOSM University had made in implementing recommendations from previous partnership gatherings, and sought recommendations about how the School could refine its practices, activities and outcomes to ensure that NOSM University continues to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples across Northern Ontario.


2015: Elder’s Gathering

NOSM University’s Indigenous Affairs Unit held a historic Elder’s Gathering on the traditional lands of Fort William First Nation in 2015, bringing together Elders from First Nations and Métis communities across Northern Ontario. The Elders discussed the purpose, function and responsibility of NOSM University Elders and those on the Council of Elders. Through sharing and discussion, it was decided that the newly formed Ogichidaang Gagiigatiziwin—NOSM University’s Circle of Elders and Traditional Knowledge Keepers—will be guided in their work by the Seven Grandfather teachings: Nibwaakaawin (wisdom); Zaagi’idiwin (love); Minaadendamowin (respect); Aakode’ewin (bravery); Gwayakwaadiziwin (honesty); Dabaadendiziwin (humility); and, Debwewin (truth).

2016: Indigenous Research Gathering

NOSM University welcomed delegates from Indigenous communities of Northern Ontario to the second Indigenous Research Gathering in 2016 in Sault Ste. Marie on the traditional lands of the Anishinabek Peoples of Baawaating. The two-day Gathering was organized to review past and present research practices, what researchers have learned about the important aspects of conducting Indigenous community research, and also reflect on the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as they relate to research.

Summary Reports


2017: Pathways to Well-Being

On June 28, 2017, NOSM University’s Indigenous Affairs Unit and Research Office co-hosted a one-day workshop on the traditional territory of the Fort William First Nation. Bringing together youth, Elders, community leaders and government representatives, the workshop focused on strategies to promote life and life skills, as well as addressed the strengths of the communities, in order to address the crisis of youth suicide.

2018: Gididaa Bimaadiziwin Wenji-Maamoobiiding (Gathering Together for Life and Wellbeing)

From September 19-20, 2018, Wauzhushk Onigum Nation welcomed us again for NOSM University’s fifth Indigenous Community Partnership Gathering, Gathering Together for Life and Well-Being. Unfolding over two days, through ceremony, shared meals and conversation, the Gathering brought together more than one hundred Indigenous Elders, leaders and community members, creating a space for people to speak openly, and for difficult questions and issues to be heard and discussed.