"While living and working in a northern Metis and First Nations community, I learned a lot about culture, customs, community, friendships, forgiveness, and compassion as a nurse."
BScN, CCRN, RNAAP
Erwin, who was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, served in the Canadian Armed Forces for three years. Erwin soon after obtained his four-year nursing degree from the University of Saskatchewan and SaskPolyTech, as well as his advanced critical care certificate and advanced authorised practise licence (RNAAP).
He received the Spirit of Mamaweetin award for "Together in Wellness" in 2017, while working as a primary care nurse. Meanwhile, with local youth cree Jonah Natomagan, he co-founded "the Pinehouse Photography Club." A club that utilises "therapeutic photography" to address adolescent mental health and addictions.
In 2019, he was appointed as an SRNA workplace representative for the former licencing body SRNA - now the College of Registered Nurses of Saskatchewan - and worked closely with the College to advance primary care nursing in northern Saskatchewan.
Erwin was honoured by the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) for his contributions to northern nursing, and he was featured in the commercial and documentary On the Frontlines of Rural and Remote Healthcare.
Dre and the Pinehouse Photography Club have won provincial, national, and international awards, as well as being featured in a number of news broadcasts, including the award-winning CBC documentary "A New Lens on Life."
In 2020, they worked with a number of organisations across the country to raise awareness, including Kids Help Phone and the Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth.
Dre's first book, "The Little Boy Who Found Happiness in the Most Unusual Place," is based on a first-generation adolescent and his story of tragedy and despair, with Cree translation provided by local metis instructor Alfred Tinker. The book was among the top ten children's books in Canada for two weeks in a row, thanks to many photographs and drawings by Pinehouse Photography Club members.
Erwin volunteered for many hours in the north, using photography as a form of therapy to help at-risk adolescents.In 2021, he received the Northern Successes Community Champion Award for his work with youth in northern Saskatchewan.Erwin is currently pursuing his master's degree as a Nurse Practitioner and continues to use photography as a form of healing and therapy.
I'll never forget the Cree elders who taught me about their culture and family and who made me feel at home.
Dre always has magnificent photos, but I enjoy his quotes nearly as much as the aurora. He has done so much to help the youth find their true calling and cares for his community. I hope to meet him one day.
Thoughtful & kind human being
By putting cameras in the hands of these youth, a nurse literally is saving lives in the north.
Stunning photographs by a genuinely wonderful and caring person.