Nord du Québec (English)
An Innu from Pessamit, Dr. Stanley Vollant grew up on the northern shores of the St. Lawrence River. From an early age, he was introduced to traditional Indigenous teachings by his maternal grandfather, who taught him the importance of community values.
He completed his secondary and collegial studies in the Québec City area before obtaining a medical degree (MD) from the Université de Montréal in 1989. He completed his training in 1994, with a specialized diploma in general surgery. He became the very first Indigenous surgeon in Quebec.
Dr. Vollant began his career in December of the same year at the Centre hospitalier régional de Baie-Comeau, where he served in general surgery as a specialist. He has practiced as a general surgeon in several hospitals, including in Dolbeau-Mistassini and Chicoutimi and at the Montfort Hospital in Ottawa. He has also practiced general surgery in his community and worked with his people. He is currently practicing general surgery at Notre-Dame Hospital in Montréal.
In 2004, he obtained the title of Assistant Professor of Surgery and served as the director of the Indigenous Program in the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine. In 2010, he was appointed coordinator of the Indigenous component of the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal. He then created the mini-health schools to introduce Indigenous youth to employment possibilities in the various health fields.
Dr. Vollant’s notable contributions include serving as chair of the Quebec Medical Association and sitting on the Executive Council of the Canadian Medical Association. He is the very first Indigenous person to be appointed head of a medical association in North America. Over the years, he has also been awarded numerous distinctions. In 1996, he garnered the Governor General of Canada’s Aboriginal Role Model Award and, in 2014, he was named a Knight of the National Order of Quebec. He was awarded the Lieutenant-Governor of Quebec’s Medal for Exceptional Merit in 2017 and its First Peoples (Innu Nation) Medal in 2019.
During a pilgrimage to Compostela, Spain, he felt called to travel the road of his ancestors to various Indigenous communities. In the fall of 2010, he therefore set off on a long walk throughout Quebec to promote healthy lifestyle habits among Indigenous youth. This project became a great movement called Innu Meshkenu, which means “the Innu way.” Dr. Vollant walked over 6,000 kilometres in all. Several other Indigenous people joined him in walking to inspire young people to believe in their potential.
Dr. Vollant decided to create the organization Puamun Meshkenu in 2016 to pursue in the spirit of the Innu Meshkenu. With its numerous school perseverance and healthy lifestyle programs, the organization is growing according to the holistic approach of Indigenous cultures. For more than 30 years, Dr. Vollant has taken interest in First Nations health and, with increasing commitment, in the overall well-being of Indigenous people in Canada.