Mae Katt has devoted her life to improving First Nations health, most recently working with high school students who come from northern reserves to study in Thunder Bay.
Over a distinguished health care career spanning four decades, Mae, a member of the Temagami First Nation, has been honoured many times for her achievements as a clinician, health administrator, educator, and researcher.
She was named a Fellow of Lakehead University in 1996, one of Lakehead’s 40 Northern Lights in 2005, and received the President’s Award in 1986 for her contributions to the student community. Her research has been recognized by the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Ontario Chapter.
For the adults and young people whose lives she has touched, Mae is best known for her care and compassion, values that were shaped growing up on her family’s traditional lands near her reserve on Bear Island in Northeastern Ontario. “My Ojibway culture and heritage influenced my work, education, and commitment to health care,” Mae says.
In 1986, Mae received her Honours Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Lakehead University, becoming one of the first Nursing Aboriginal graduates, and in 1995 she earned a Master of Education. She has also completed the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner and Northern Clinical Practice programs. Mae worked with the School of Nursing to develop the Native Nurses Entry Program and became its first coordinator.
Her nursing and research experience encompasses primary care, diabetes, addictions, community health, mental health, suicide, brain injury, and breast cancer. She has held senior management positions with Health Canada, Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and Anishnawbe Mushkiki Community Health Access Centre.
Mae Katt is a strong advocate for justice for all people, but especially children and those disadvantaged by poverty, conflict, or illness. She counsels future nurses to believe that they can make a significant difference in creating a better world and, “to bring hope and kindness to everything that you do.”