Knowledge Resources & Publications

Webinar: Traditional Indigenous Medicine in North America - A Review

June 2020


Despite the documented continued use of traditional healing methods, modalities and its associated practitioners by Indigenous groups across North America, widespread knowledge is elusive amongst most Western trained health professionals and systems. This despite that the over 6 million Indigenous peoples who currently reside in Canada and the United States (US) are most often served by Western systems of medicine. A systematic search of multiple databases was performed, with consequent title and abstract review of articles published on traditional Indigenous medicine in the North American context utilizing an established scoping review framework.

The research was is an attempt to catalogue the wide array of published research in the peer-reviewed and grey literature on traditional Indigenous medicine in North America in order to provide an accessible databases for medical practitioners, scholars and communities to better inform practice, policymaking, and research in Indigenous communities specifically through an Indigenous public health lens. The efforts and results of this research will be presented.

Learning objectives

  • Understand the difference between Traditional Medicine (TM) and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).
  • Understand the difference between evidence-based and evidenced informed science in the context of Indigenous medicine and healing practices.
  • Explore the various themes that exist in the Indigenous traditional medicine literature.
  • Examine the current issues surrounding research on or with traditional medicine and potential ways forward.


Dr. Nicole Redvers, ND, MPHc, is an assistant professor in the Indians into Medicine (INMED) and the Department of Family & Community Medicine at the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She is an enrolled member of the Deninu K’ue First Nation Band (Dene) with continued ties to the Canadian north.

She is the author of the trade paperback, The Science of the Sacred: Bridging Global Indigenous Medicine Systems and Modern Scientific Principles (North Atlantic Books, March 26, 2019) and is active in promoting Indigenous and planetary health research and practice at local, national and international scales.

She is co-founder and board chair of the charity the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation based in the Canadian north, which was awarded one million dollars as a Laureate of the 2017 Arctic Inspiration Prize to work with those suffering from homelessness and those most at risk in the region.

Dr. Redvers currently sits on the advisory board for the American Public Health Association's Center for Climate, Health and Equity (APHA CCHE) Steering Committee (2020-2021) and is a Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice merit scholar.

Suggested Reading

Nicole Redvers, Justina Marianayagam & Be’sha Blondin (2019) Improving access to Indigenous medicine for patients in hospital-based settings: a challenge for health systems in northern Canada, International Journal of Circumpolar Health, 78:1

Webinar Resources