Indigenous Peoples Navigation Network (IPNN)

(as recognized by the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+)

Indigenous Peoples Navigation Network (IPNN) is a virtual support network for navigators who work with Indigenous Populations. Native American Cancer Research Corporation (NACR) has implemented patient navigation services since 1994 and conducted Native Patient Navigation (NPN) trainings since the latter 1990s.  Following these trainings, Patient Navigators (PN(s)) repeatedly expressed appreciation for the opportunity to talk, network and collaborate with other PNs who work within Indigenous settings. Through NACR's involvement with organizations such as the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators (AONN+), we were able to create an international Indigenous network to help support one another in our cancer navigation efforts.  


Indigenous Peoples' Navigation Network  (IPNN, pronounced, "I pin")

Why an Indigenous Peoples Navigation Network?

There are both cultural and geographic challenges and solutions that may be unique to Indigenous communities and the Patient Navigators who work in those areas. Many Navigators work in isolation. The focus of IPNN is on sharing stories of how navigation programs have overcome challenges in culturally respectful ways. Such stories may help PNs working in another region or continent try something new or modify what was done to be locally appropriate to one's setting.


Provide a virtual support program to address culturally and geographically unique challenges and solutions of Indigenous Navigation programs.


Cancer Patient Navigators who work within Indigenous programs in the USA, Pacific Islands, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. 

What would you be responsible for should you choose to join this initiative?

There is no fee. You would be expected to attend 2-hour virtual meetings, held at least quarterly. The goal is to be supportive of navigators who work within Indigenous communities and the members to feel comfortable to share their stories, lessons learned or request help. Additionally, members will suggest topics for which they would like more information (education topic) for subsequent gatherings. IPNN is to help us all learn more about one another and to reinforce "we are all related". An example of an agenda may be:

  • Blessing (presented by a different Indigenous community each meeting) ~5 minutes
  • Ground rules (e.g., virtual feather for whoever is speaking and the feather passes to next speaker, no talking on top of one another's words, no gossiping, any information shared in meeting remains confidential unless speaker says it is okay to share, all comments reflect respect for our ancestors, etc.) ~5 minutes
  • Welcome and short self-introductions (name, Indigenous affiliation (if any), name of your navigation program, how long you've worked there and your primary responsibilities); ~3 minutes each (length depends on number of participants)
  • Education topic (members will select topics of interest, e.g., patient navigation roles throughout the cancer continuum, integrating traditional Indigenous medicine with cancer treatments, family-healthcare provider communication challenges, etc.) 20 minutes plus 15 minutes for questions, comments, discussions.
  • Opening for member(s) to raise navigation issue for which they need guidance  ~15 minutes (discussion may lead to education speaker at subsequent gathering)
  • One IPNN Member to share personal navigation story (15-minutes plus 15 minutes for participants to ask questions or make comments)
  • One IPNN member to share resource(s) that helped with navigation duties (10 minutes)
  • One IPNN member to share cultural lessons (artwork, craft, story) (10 minutes)
  • Closing blessing (presented by different Indigenous community each meeting)

What do you do if you choose to become involved in IPNN?

Send your name, address, work or cell phone and email to