James Makokis

Youth Recipient (2007)

For 24-year-old James Makokis pursuing a career in medicine has always been at the forefront of his mind. But it’s his love for his community and his desire to learn the wisdom of his ancestors that drives his passion.

As a youth he has already proved himself by making enormous strides in that direction. It’s his unique ability to share what he’s learned through nationally syndicated columns, programming university research projects and combining his family’s wisdom with that of his ongoing quest to further his knowledge.

Life as a two-spirited youth on a reserve had its challenges which ingrained in him the drive to persevere. He left home as most youth do to explore and found himself working and volunteering with people on the streets of Edmonton where he witnessed first hand the plight of urban Natives. It dismayed him but most importantly, it challenged him. With a strong circle of parents, friends and elders he realized what his ancestors worked so hard to achieve. With drive and spirit he joined youth committees, attached himself to various health and wellness boards and began a very personal journey of understanding and change. Now with a strong academic direction, extensive community support, spirituality and ceremony, Makokis has a clear sense of career direction but is also on a fast-track to serving his community for a lifetime.