Nicole Redvers aims to find connections.
On Saturday at the Yellowknife Public Library, the Indigenous naturopathic doctor and chair of the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Foundation launched her new book, The Science of the Sacred.
The book attempts to bridge the gaps between Indigenous healing systems from around the world and Western medicine.
“I had the urge for a number of years that I needed to get something out,” she said. “For all the experiences that I had and the people I had met. I was so honoured to be exposed to many different elders around the world.”
Redvers has spent a number of years studying Indigenous medicine as a volunteer health worker in the developing world where she met a number of Indigenous healers throughout Africa, Asia, and Central America, she said.
Her inspiration for the book came while sitting in Edmonton’s airport in 2006.
“There was this old, little lady with her little hanky and her rubbers, and her little cane, (an) Indigenous elder,” said Redvers.
She saw the woman was having difficulty getting out her chair.
“I realized I was travelling all around this world … and here my own home needed this work and I wasn’t here,” she said.
It was then she decided to write a book that would transcend the differences between traditional and Western medicine.
Elders reviewed her work before publication and offered guidance during the writing process.
She said Indigenous and Western health systems don’t have to be at odds.
“The elders always give the example of two rivers flowing along next to each other,” she said. “Those rivers are not necessarily intertwined … but they’re in the right direction together.”
“It doesn’t mean we can’t work together to the same purpose and get to the same destination,” she added.
Her work also explores the parallels between Indigenous health systems from around the world, which often share similarities, and identifies challenges such as climate change and antibiotic resistance as areas that could benefit from Indigenous knowledge systems.
“If we can find those common threads, that we do share as humans, than it allows us to be able to have greater faith (in) how we’ll adapt to a changing world,” she said.