In Memoriam: Dr. Jessie Carol Nyberg

It is with much sadness that we share news that Elder Jessie Nyberg has passed away.

Dr. Jessie Carol Nyberg was a proud member of the Canoe Creek Band of the Secwepmc (Shuswap) Nation. As a founding member of the Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) for over fifteen years, she was an integral member of HELP from the beginning. Elder Jessie had a strong and honored voice. She spoke often of our collective responsibility to cherish, respect, and listen to children as gifts from the Creator. Her commitment to ensure our work was inclusive and safe for all children, families, and communities was sometimes daunting, but always awe-inspiring.

As a long-time nurse, she brought her knowledge of the health care system to her research and her work at HELP, along with her experiences of racism within this system. She had a passion for cultural safety, which became a focus during her expansive career in research and continues to be embedded in HELP’s research tools, implementation, and knowledge translation. 

Elder Jessie started our days in a good way. Before our shared meals, she would ensure her prayers included a thank you to all the people who are often missed by our fast-moving society: a thanks to those who prepared our food and those who cleaned our dishes after us. 

Elder Jessie retired from the Aboriginal Steering Committee in 2018. Never one to shy away from hard work she continued to advocate on behalf of Indigenous peoples. Of note was her work as Elder Advisor & Community Research Liaison with the UBCO’s Faculty of Health and Social Development, Cultural Safety for Aboriginal Health in the Okanagan Valley. 

Elder Jessie’s passion for building stronger Indigenous families and communities was genuine. Her care for all Indigenous children and families inspired everyone and her knowledge helped to guide HELP to where it is today. 

Rest well Jessie. Your voice for change will continue in all those you have touched.

Dr. Jessie Carol Nyberg April 10, 1942 – September 3, 2021

Flags on UBC’s Okanagan campus will be lowered on Friday, September 17, 2021 in memory of Elder Jessie

Elder Jessie Nyberg recieving her UBC Okanagan 2021 Honorary Degree Recipient (video)

Learning by Listening The Aboriginal MDI (video)