Know Your Heroes: Oddette Fabian

Oddette Fabian taking a selfie

Name: Oddette Fabian
Title: Indigenous Community Health Worker
Number of years working in health care: 1
I was born and raised in: Katlodeeche First Nation

I decided to get into health care because a majority of my career has been spent working in Indigenous spaces and nations, including my own home nation Katlodeeche First Nation. I decided to enter the field of health care because it feels like the best fit for me and my unique set of experience and skills. Providing support to community members is common practice back home, and having the space to perform the same community wellness practices is an incredibly enriching experience.

My role here at UHN is to support the urban Indigenous population to the best of my abilities, with a respectful and community-based approach. Connecting with Indigenous peoples and providing Indigenous specific support to patients in need of housing, food supports, help pursuing education, employment, or getting to their appointment.

The thing I love the most about my job is the ability to facilitate access to supports to Indigenous people in the urban environment. There are a lot of supports available for Indigenous peoples, but there is a definitive lack of clarity in where they are, how to find them, or how to access them. When you’re already focused on surviving the day to day, it can be hard to do the work necessary to access them. Having experienced navigating those pathways myself when I first moved to Toronto, it has given me the ability to translate my experience and help others find those same resources and promote them.

The most incredible thing I’ve seen at work would have to be my coworkers, and the organization as a whole. It’s easy to take the workings of society for granted when you can only see things at their surface level, but in fact there are many hands working at keeping the world turning, helping one another by providing supports, access to care, and reaching out to people to ensure they aren’t just safe but can continue to live safe and healthy lives. Being part of an altruistic community of people has fundamentally changed my world perspective, and the coordination and leveraging of so many people and their helping hands, is truly incredible.

I’m inspired by my coworkers. Providing support and care for patients is hard work, emotionally taxing, and at times physically demanding, but they still find time to connect with one another and bring a healthy work ethic, care, and joy into the work while also supporting one another.

One of my personal heroes is my Great-grandmother. It feels embarrassing to say that I’ve never learned her first name, as I’ve always known her as ‘Ama’ Canadien, which means “Mother”. She was a strong woman, and in her passing left behind a legacy of love, patience, resilience and wisdom. She had seen the world change from the life of a semi-nomadic lifestyle, to the development of infrastructure and the rapid advance of technology. She had the unique experience of seeing the world change in her lifetime and despite a life underneath the violence of colonialism and marginalization, she never once buckled against it and held her family, my family, together with her strength alone. The world is lesser for her passing, but made so much greater for her existence. Mahsi Cho, Ama.

I sometimes worry about the future of the environment and ecosystem. My background includes environmental work that ties in with being raised in hunting camps and a small village. Despite my worries about the environmental impact of modern day society, I take solace in the knowledge that these processes are ancient and predate human civilization, and just like ancient disasters during earth’s long history, the processes to restore it will eventually come to pass.

I’ve found joy recently from hosting community events in my home for my friends and relatives. Providing a space for my friends to connect as well as feed them has been incredibly nourishing to my spirit. A lovely part of my childhood has been having a house full of laughter, joy, friends, and community with people intersecting in and out of your life and living space freely- visiting and leaving as they will. Recapturing that has been a very enriching experience, both in organization, coordinating and facilitating.

My favourite book– it would have to definitively be the Song of Achilles by Madelline Miller. Although it is a historic story and the ending is already clear, it’s hard to prepare for the ending of a Greek tragedy anyway. I read it once a year as a source of comfort.

My ideal day off is to spend it cooking for and feeding my friends and community members, providing a safe place to relax and connect with one another. Providing a community space that emulates the same environment and familial connection with my relatives back home is an incredibly enriching and joyful experience. There is nothing quite like having a house full of laughter, conversation, and music, and providing that space for my friends and loved ones is nothing short of fantastic.


Did you know you can recognize a UHN staff member through our Honour Your Hero program? Express gratitude for the care you or a loved one received and share a personal message of thanks with the people who supported you throughout your care journey. Your gift will supported research, education and the enhancement of patient care right here at UHN.

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