From astronauts to doctors, Indigenous trailblazers put InFocus

In 2018, Capt. Robyn Shlachetla and First Officer Raven Beardy took flight as a female medevac crew in Manitoba.

That same year, Brigette Lacquette, 25, of Mallard, Man., suited up to play for Team Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

And in 2022, Col. Nicole Mann, an Indigenous female astronaut blasted off into space.

All these people have something in common – they were trailblazers – the first to do what they do as Indigenous people.

These, along with others, are the stories we’re putting on InFocus.

One of the most public firsts for an Indigenous person and an Indigenous woman is the Governor General.

Mary Simon was born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik

On July 26, 2021, she was sworn in as Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General and the 30th Governor General since confederation.

Kona Williams is not only the first but she remains the only First Nation forensic pathologist in Canada

Williams’ work has become very personal in recent years with the discovery of suspected unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools as her dad is a survivor.

Former NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy officer John Bennett Herrington is of Chickasaw heritage.

Herrington is also first Native American astronaut to accomplish space travel and a spacewalk.

When he went to the international space station he carried eagle feathers, arrowheads, wooden flutes, and flags of the Chickasaw and Crow Nations

As an auditor general for British Columbia,  Michael Pickup gets to head up investigations into government departments and programs.

Pickup is not only the first Indigenous auditor general – he is the first auditor general to identify as a member of the LGBTQ-2S community.

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