Carrying a legacy forward
- Sophia Lagimodiere | March 23, 2021
To celebrate International Women’s Day, I sat down with my oldest sister to talk about her goals, our upbringing, and the importance of honouring our family name.
Born and raised in Saskatoon, Krista loves travelling, outdoor activities, the arts and baking. She is also a Geriatrician – a medical doctor specializing in the care of older adults. While some may know her as Dr. Lagimodiere, I’ve always known her as my sister, and one of the women I look up to the most.
Krista has always loved the performing arts and sciences, making it difficult for her to decide a path. Ultimately, she was drawn to medicine, as she felt it “truly married both the arts and sciences together.”
“I am humbled by listening to patient stories and being able to help individuals and their families work through some of the toughest moments in their lives. I knew that medicine would provide me an opportunity to be challenged from an academic perspective while also giving back to the community,” she said.
While she enjoyed many areas of medicine, she decided to pursue geriatric medicine, as she wanted to serve a population she felt deserved more attention. A lot of that stems from personal experiences navigating the health care system with our grandmother.
“It was heartbreaking to see her not get the holistic care she needed as she was developing a number of health issues after our grandfather passed away,” Krista said. She hopes to “ensure that other people’s grandparents receive exceptional health care when they need it most”.
Our family values growing up also inspired her to specialize in geriatrics.
“I grew up with very inspiring grandparents. They were instrumental in my upbringing, and I look up to them in many ways,” she said. “From a young age, I developed a deep respect for seniors in my life”.
Krista believes that society needs to learn from Indigenous communities when it comes to valuing and respecting our elders and thinks they need to be included in roundtable discussions on policy development directly impacting them.
“We should look to our elders for guidance during these uncertain times, as they have important perspectives that we can learn from,” she said.
Moreover, she believes that we should look to the medicine wheel’s teachings when trying to move towards a more holistic approach to health care.
“Health and well-being is dependent on a number of bio-psycho-social factors, and how we as individuals fit within our community network,” she said. “With social isolation and loneliness becoming more prevalent, we know that that is associated with poor health outcomes. So what can we do to change that? How can we learn from these teachings?”
Although she is married, Krista is proud to have kept her Lagimodiere name as a way to honour the legacy of our ancestors and their significant place within Métis history.
While she always knew where she came from, she credits her high school history teacher, Mr. Whelan from Evan Hardy, for encouraging her to delve more deeply into the meaning of our family legacy.
Our grandfather, Ron Lagimodiere, lived a traditional French-Metis, Catholic upbringing and grew up in a large loving family with 12 siblings. As a baby, his family moved to Pine Bluff (a Métis settlement) by dog team, and eventually, they settled in The Pas, Manitoba, where much of our family still resides.
We are grateful to keep his memory alive by coming together with over 100 relatives for family reunions and reading stories he documented of his life. He taught us the importance of honoring family traditions and values.
“He had strong faith, a heart of gold and a smile that lit up every room. I really miss his infectious laugh and storytelling,” Krista said. “Our grandparents have taught us the power of resilience and determination. Despite facing adversity in life, they continued to face each day with optimism and compassion”.
Krista recognizes the importance role models in her life have played in achieving her goals. “My parents exemplify the epitome of love, compassion and support. They’ve given me and my sisters a supportive and loving household and have been instrumental in our success,” she said. “I get strength from my husband, family and core group of friends that are always supportive and uplifting”.
She encourages Indigenous girls and women to look for role models in their lives for inspiration.
“Find something that sparks joy, and you will always find a purpose in what you’re doing. Speak to people in fields you are interested in and find a mentor,” she said. “Never underestimate the power of perseverance and hard work in achieving your goals”.