Coaching Association of Canada

Dr. James Makokis

Dr. James Makokis is a proud Cree from the Saddle Lake First Nation in Northern Alberta. James received his Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) in Nutrition and Food Sciences from University of Alberta and holds a Masters of Health Science (M.H.Sc.) in Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto. Dr. Makokis holds Doctorate in Medicine (M.D) from the University of Ottawa and received certification from the Aboriginal Family Medicine Training Program, University of British Columbia. He is also the recipient of the 2007 National Aboriginal Achievement Special Youth Award. This is the highest formal recognition bestowed upon individual from Indigenous communities.

James is truly unique. From traveling alongside former Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a diplomatic mission to Brazil, to clowning with Dr. Patch Adams in the Amazon Jungle, James takes every opportunity to expand his horizons. James married his husband Anthony Johnson while they ran the 2017 BMO Harris Vancouver Marathon, taking a short pause along the route to say “I do at km 32.” In keeping with this adventurous spirit, James and Anthony competed - and won! - as a team on Amazing Race Canada Season 7. Their team name Ahkameyimok roughly translates to mean dig deep, find the true essence of yourself and exert it to do your best, and that's when you achieve breakthrough results. 

As a proud member of the LGBTQ2S community, James has experienced the same bullying that sexually and gender diverse youth continue to endure. Because of the support of his parents and community, and a maintained faith in Indigenous values and culture, he overcame these challenges to succeed beyond society’s expectations. Now Dr. Makokis’ clinical practice focuses on serving the needs of Transgender peoples, making him one of the few physicians in Canada with this type of practice.

Serving the Underserved: Building Capacity and Safe Communities through Sport
Closing Plenary

As a Cree two-spirit doctor, James Makokis has an incredible firsthand understanding of the resilience of not one but two underrepresented communities. In this session, Dr. Makokis will draw from his personal experiences as well as knowledge gained through treating transgender patients and working with First Nations people to develop resources and programs advancing the wellbeing of these groups. He will share insights from trans patients who identify as athletes based on their experiences receiving encouragement and facing discrimination, shedding light on the type of support trans people need – and sport organizations can provide. He will also share the inspiring story of a marathon training group on Saddle Lake Cree Nation which he helped establish in 2006. Through physical activity, Dr. Makokis was able to leverage Cree philosophies of community and sport to build resilience and capacity for individuals within his Nation while taking a strengths-based approach. The program remains active to this day, now spearheaded by local community members. This presentation will provide key introspective learnings for individuals and organizations that work with diverse populations.