Indigenous Celebration Week Indigenous Celebration Week

Opening Ceremony & Keynote Speaker

SUB Atrium

About the Speakers:

James Makokis

A proud Cree from the Saddle Lake First Nation in northern Alberta, Dr. James Makokis runs a transgender-focused medical practice and is a leader in Indigenous, LGBTQ2 and medical communities. He has a two-spirit perspective and strong connections to preventative health and spirituality.

Dr. Makokis holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition and food sciences, a Master of Health Science in community nutrition and a doctorate in medicine. He also received certification from the Aboriginal Family Medicine Training Program.

In addition to The Amazing Race Canada, Dr. Makokis has travelled alongside former governor general Michaëlle Jean on a diplomatic mission to Brazil and worked with Dr. Patch Adams in the Amazon jungle.

Anthony Johnson

Born and raised on the Navajo nation, Johnson is a self-proclaimed spiritual nomad, artist, poet, photographer and cultural documentarian. After graduating from Harvard University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in economics and social anthropology of East Asia, he worked in the tech industry and fashion world. In 2019, he won The Amazing Race Canada with partner James Makokis. Johnson has a strong will to help others through human connection. He is passionate about enabling others to change systems and social structures that promote inequality.

Elder Jo-Ann Saddleback’s heritage (her Mother) is Saddle Lake Cree First Nations and (her Husband) Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacîs. She inherits from her Mother, Christine Daniels, the Eagle Thunderbird Clan of the Western Mountains. Elder Saddleback is also Elder for the City of Edmonton Indigenous Framework development, City of Edmonton Indigenous Artist in Residence Program, Lead Elder for the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse (CRISM); for Thunderbird Partnerships, the Indigenous National research organization; for Dreamspeakers Festival Society. She has also worked with the Federation of Sovereign Nations, Maskwacîs Cultural College, and Cultural Advisor to The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada when it was in Edmonton, and gives lectures at many educational institutions, organizations and conferences. She is also an artist/artisan who owns Câhcacêp Art and BowsArt.

Join us for opening ceremony and prayer led by First People's House Kohkom Jo-Ann Saddleback to welcome the sessions and gatherings of the week, followed by a keynote opening to the week's events by Dr. Makokis and his partner Anthony Johnson.

This Event will be hybrid taking place on SUBStage, and virtually through Zoom.