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Smoke Signals' Gay Actor Turned Doctor Lands New Career-Defining Role

Smoke Signals' Gay Actor Turned Doctor Lands New Career-Defining Role


Evan Adams is now chief medical officer of Canada's First Nation's Health Authority, a lifelong dream come true he says.

As Thomas-Builds-the-Fire in Sherman Alexie's 1998 film Smoke Signals and Seymour Polatkin in the 2002 gay film The Business of Fancydancing, actor Evan Adams, made a huge impact on Native Americans in Hollywood, onscreen and off, offering one of the first modern glimpses at Native reservation life. Now Adams, a highly respected gay physician in Canada, is taking on another career-defining role. According to Native News Online, he’s been named Chief Medical Officer by the First Nations Health Authority in Canada.

Native News reports that Dr. Adams, a member of the Tla’amin (Sliammon) First Nation, will work alongside “government partners on health matters in population and public health that affect First Nations and all British Columbians.” The appointment is a huge one in British Columbia, as FNHA bills itself as the first province-wide health authority of its kind in Canada, with the goal of transforming the health and wellness of BC's First Nations and aboriginal people by dramatically changing healthcare for the better.

Prior to the appointment, Evans — who has been openly gay his entire career — worked with the Ministry of Health, Canada’s highest government health body, according to Native News, and “reporting to citizens on health issues affecting the general population, and setting out a path for the improvement of First Nations and Aboriginal health and wellness.”

In addition to those films, Adams has appeared in numerous television series including Da Vinci's Inquest and The L Word, and in the documentary Just Watch Me: Trudeau and the 70's Generation, in which he talked about growing up as a young gay First Nations man during Pierre Trudeau's rein as the country's prime minister. Adams completed his medical degree in 2002, working in his own practice and as director of the Aboriginal Health program at the University of British Columbia.

He's also done a great deal of work around HIV and AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment as well as substance abuse treatment.

“It has been a lifelong dream to work directly with First Nations and Aboriginal peoples on our wellness and prosperity at this level. I’m grateful to the Office of the Provincial Health Officer for the past seven and a half years. I feel like I’m coming home,” Adams said

“The FNHA has made a great choice in Dr. Adams — he is an exceptional public health practitioner. His years with my office were marked by his dedication to improving the health of Aboriginal people in BC,” Dr. Perry Kendall, provincial health officer, told Native News. “I learned a tremendous amount from Evan and I wish him every success in this next stage of his path, and I look forward to continuing work with Evan in his new role.”

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