Annette Chimtee Xqai’x (New Dawn) Sampson, RN, BSN ’14, CCM, FNP, DNP ’22 imbues her health care practice with the traditions and culture of Native peoples.
Born in Pendleton, Oregon, Sampson is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla, Walla Walla and Cayuse. As a child, she and her mother relocated to Bethel, Alaska, where her mother and stepfather met and were married. Sampson became part of a blended family, gaining two brothers and three sisters along with relatives who moved north from Pendleton. In this extended family, Sampson was surrounded by Native health care providers.
“Medicine was part of our family of origin,” she said. Her grandmother worked as a nurse in the regional hospital, her mother was a medical social worker, and her stepfather was a physician. With Native health care “subconsciously calling to me,” Sampson says she also absorbed the local Alaskan Yupik tribal culture, foods, dances, traditions, and ceremonies and has carried them with her as a lifetime influence.
“It’s very strong in my heart to not only represent Native nurses but also to recruit and advocate for those future healers coming up behind me.”
Sampson feels she was lucky to be exposed to so many Native health care providers, particularly nurses, in the Alaskan Bush and in her rural homelands in the Pendleton area.
“This healing in the community was because of Native nurses before me. It’s very strong in my heart to not only represent Native nurses but also to recruit and advocate for those future healers coming up behind me.”
From the time she became an RN, Sampson has worked to connect with Native patients and be a welcoming face to “let them know that I have them under my wing.” During her family nurse practitioner rotation with OHSU SON, Sampson was exposed to a diverse, often marginalized patient population in Portland. She says she will be “forever grateful” for this exposure that helped to solidify her belief in the right to high quality health care for all.
“When I’m gone from this earth, did I invest in something I can be proud of? Was I a change maker?”
Sampson will be joining the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde health care team in early September and is excited to immerse herself in their community to begin this new chapter of her career. She looks forward to her expanded role as a DNP primary care provider and wants to network with other health care providers who work with Native populations to “help make Native country thrive and to continue to fuel resiliency, heal trauma and overcome barriers for improved spiritual, emotional and physical health.”
When connecting with her patients, Sampson learns whether they follow any specific Nation or tribal practices such as sweat lodge ceremonies, hunting, or root gathering. She believes there is value in Native practices and remembers one patient who was able to improve their diabetes by returning to traditional Native foods. Sampson hopes to expand her horizons by connecting with those who have medicinal knowledge of roots, berries, animals, and water. “I’m always one to want to step outside the clinic walls and check on the health of the community, the health of the land, the health of the water. These things are very important.”
Sampson recalls that it can be difficult to be one of the few Native students in a cohort. But she thinks it is essential to find allies and make forward progress in Native health care. “You’re talking about the nine recognized tribes and several unrecognized tribes of Oregon, and branching out to move beyond the Northwest to the country of Turtle Island (the North American continent).” She asks herself, “When I’m gone from this earth, did I invest in something I can be proud of? Was I a change maker?”
A version of this profile was included in the School of Nursing Connections newsletter, Fall 2022.
Above: Annette Chimtee Xqai’x (New Dawn) Sampson at her DNP graduation ceremony with her daughter, Juniper.