Evan Adams

Mike Jackson | Evan Adams | Michelle Bryant | Candis Callison | Ian Campbell | Bernard Casavant | Stacey Edzerza | Lenny Fisher | Dave Griffin | Trevor A. Joe | Tewanee Joseph | Rose Lesner | Duncan McCue | Carey Newman | Cherie Joy Rochelle Peal | Jason Rock | Lisa Sam

Can a professional actor, TV host and writer also have time for a job as a doctor?
‘Why not?’ says Evan Adams. Already established as an actor, with even fan websites and a mailing list, he wants to continue this career. But he also wants a career in medicine – and he doesn’t believe he has to choose between them.

Evan is Coast Salish, a member of the Sliammon Band by Powell River, on the Sunshine Coast.

For fourteen years, he has been a professional actor, perhaps best known for his role as Thomas Builds-the-Fire in “Smoke Signals”. The movie received awards and great reviews. He’s seen in TV dramas and he co-hosts the talk show “Buffalo Tracks” on Aboriginal Television Network.

His writing has included plays, which have been seen as far away as Africa.

But when he was 29, he started thinking that it wasn’t enough.

“On my 29th birthday I was working on a wonderful show, which no one saw and I thought ‘no, I want more than this’. And I knew that I had this other dream, and I was getting to be too old to train for medicine. So I thought, “I’m going to do it”.”

Becoming a medical doctor wasn’t a new idea. Long ago it had been inspired by the stories Evan had heard about his relatives who died of tuberculosis, and by his godmother, who became a naturopath in her 50s.

He was also inspired by the school he went to on a full scholarship for grades 11 and 12 – Lester B. Pearson College in Victoria.

“It was an international school, with students from 80 countries. My being Indian was really celebrated and respected, in a way that wouldn’t have happened at other schools. At other schools it was usually the opposite. At Pearson, there were a great number of students from the Third World, with the same responsibility as me: ‘Go and get an education, and come back and save your people – because they’re dying too fast, and too young. Come back and help them to have a better life'”.

The school also taught Evan the importance of being a humanist.

It’s very important to him; his desire to ‘give back’ to the world, and to his community. . Before finishing his pre-med. studies at the University of British Columbia, he established an annual bursary – for a UBC Health Sciences aboriginal student.
This desire is also now sharpening his focus on where and how he wants to practice medicine.

“I’m in medicine because I can. I can. There aren’t many Indians who can take ten years out of their lives to study. It’s a privilege. Part of that privilege is why I want to work in Indian health.

“I want to be a family doctor working in the aboriginal community – I don’t want to be a foot soldier in the white man’s army. I also want to work on health policy at a national level for aboriginal people.”

Evan’s now in his second year of medical school in Calgary. At the same time, he’s acting and hosting the TV talk show. But … where does he find time to sleep?
About six hours a night, he says. Pursuing simultaneous careers and determined to live a full life, sleep is one area of Evan Adams’ life that’s unlikely to expand in the future.

Stepping Stones
How did you get to where you are now?

Evan Adams
Education Stepping Stones

* Started learning French in grade one – in bilingual schools from age four.
* St Michael’s University School, for Grade 11.
* Grade 12 and 13, Lester B Pearson, got his 1st year university equivalent – bilingual baccalaureate
* Biochemistry at McGill University for a year
* Two-year acting program at the Spirit Song Native College in Vancouver
* Pre-medicine at UBC, for three years
* University of Calgary medical school – now in his second year

On The TV Screen in Your Living Room

* Buffalo Tracks, co-hosts, on Aboriginal Television on Fridays
* These Arms of Mine, CBC TV, Fridays at 9
* In 2000, he was West Coast storyteller for the first episode of the ratings-success “Canada – A People’s History”
* Da Vinci’s Inquest, recent guest-star

See Evan’s filmography here.

You can join Evan’s mailing list at EvanAdams-subscribe@egroups.com

Thinking About School
“Life is meant to be fun. I think when kids get discouraged is when they hear that you have to choose between work and fun; that you have to choose the option that’s not fun. Find the fun along with the work. You can’t make it unless you’re having a good time.
I understand it’s incredibly hard. Staying in school is difficult. The more you want, the higher price the ticket.
“I always learned to work very hard. My father taught me that. My siblings; none of them have academic pursuits like I do. But that we have in common – we fight the good fight in whatever it is that we’re doing. Whenever I had no talent, I made up for it with sweat.”
– Evan

Copyright 2012 First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations Schools Association