Sophie Thomas, Traditional Healer of the Carrier Nation
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Tribe in mourning
Prominent elder and healer dies
by Gordon Hoekstra
Prince George Citizen - March 19, 2010

   Sophie Thomas, a respected Dakelh elder and traditional healer, passed away Wednesday in her Saik'uz village home south of Vanderhoof.
   Thomas was believed to be in her 80s.
   The Carrier Sekani Tribal Council noted Thursday that Thomas was an "incredible" teacher and recognized for her works and contribution to traditional practices and knowledge.
   Her notable works include the movie The Warmth of Love: The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas, produced by environmentalist and musician Terry Jacks, formerly of The Poppy Family; and a book, Plants and Medicines of Sophie Thomas.
   According to her website,, for the past 20 years she has been invited to speak at elementary and high schools, colleges, and universities. She has alos spoken at international conferences, sharing her knowledge of herbs and traditional Carrier healing.
   Thomas was a founding member of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, which represents eight First Nations west of Prince George, as well as the Yinka Dene Language Institute.
   She was to receive an honourary degree from UNBC this May to recognize her work as a prominent knowledge keeper and medicine woman.
   "We are extremely saddened we have lost such a wonderful woman who advocated for conservation and respect for mother earth," said tribal council vice-chief Terry Teegee.
   "We are fortunate to have known and learned from her. We send our condolences and prayers to the Thomas family."

Honorary Degree Recipients Named
University of Northern British Columbia
February 3, 2010

Sophie Thomas is a Healer and Elder of the SaiíKuz First Nation west of Prince George. She is a living encyclopedia of traditional ecological knowledge and provided much of the content and inspiration for the book, The Plants and Medicines of Sophie Thomas, prepared by UNBC professors Jane Young and Alex Hawley and published in 2002. It is currently in its third printing, with 2000 sold to date. She is the mother of 15 children and the traditionally adoptive mother of 15 more.

The forest is Sophie's drugstore
Terry Jacks' film follows native herbalist
by Michael Becker
North Shore News - Friday, September 28, 2001

   CANADIAN pop icon Terry Jacks brings his work as an environmentalist to film with The Warmth of Love, The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas.

   Thomas is an 88-year-old member of the Frog Clan of the Saik'uz Nation. She lives at Stony Creek, about 95 kilometres west of Prince George. Her grandmother taught her about natural medicinal cures and stewardship of the land.

   We watch her gather the raw materials for the medicines she dispenses for free. Sap from balsam fir, taken from the eastside of the tree in the spring, is used as a lung medicine. The inner bark from the jack pine provides succulent and tasty nutrients while in the woods. Fungus from the birch tree is used to smoke cured moose hide. Poplar bark is used for cough medicine, to stop bleeding and rid the body of worms.

   "We are losing our spiritual values. Clear-cutting destroys everything, because everything in the forest depends on something else. People don't let the earth heal, they take everything," she says in the film.

Movies that matter
Vancouver filmmakers are making films that depict the human spirit.
by Stephen Hume
The Vancouver Sun - Saturday, December 9, 2000

   The Four Seasons of Sophie Thomas takes a less journalistic approach to the same general theme, opting instead for the more satisfying poetic visual language of symbol and metaphor. Filmed at Stoney Creek on the much-damaged Nechako River, it's the story of an 87-year-old Carrier elder and her profound knowledge of an ancient wisdom about the medicinal values of plants that too many of us see as either weeds or industrial feedstock. (CLICK for full story)

Healer gives the natural gift of life
by Leanne Tarling

   Each of us has our own gift. It might be as simple as the desire to help a neighbour or as complex as practicing medicine.

   Saik'uz elder Sophie Thomas has the greatest gift of all. She saves lives using her herbal medicines, a gift she shares for free.

   Red alder, chokecherry and wild raspberry branches are the ingredients for her cancer medicine. But they are becoming more difficult to find.

   "They come from the environment," she says of her medicines. If we look after the environment, it will look after us. If we destroy it, we destroy ourselves."

   "Most healers know one [medicine]," explained her daughter Minnie. "The best, they know four. I've known four since I was young. But Mom does more than ten."

   Minnie is constantly amazed by her mother's talents. She once received a call about a man who was hurt and bleeding but nothing they could do in hospital helped. When she went to knock on her mother's door, she found medicine already prepared on the stove.

   "I feel it," said Sophie. "It comes to me. It keeps bothering me until I make the medicine. And then someone comes when it is ready." (CLICK for full story)