Dr. Mary Jane McCallum is a citizen of the Barren Lands First Nation in Brochet, Manitoba. She attended the Guy Hill Residential School in The Pas for 11 years. She is an advocate for social justice who, over the course of her distinguished career, has provided dental care to First Nations communities across Manitoba.
She received a Dental Nursing Diploma at the Wascana Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences in 1977 and a Dental Therapy Diploma at the School of Dental Therapy in 1979, before earning a Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Manitoba in 1990.
From 1979 to 1997, she was involved in the dental field in various capacities, including as a dental therapist in northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba communities and as an assistant professor at the University of Manitoba running a dental clinic in Churchill and overseeing students completing their practicum. From 1996 to 2000, she worked on an interchange with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs as the Regional Dental Officer for the province.
From 1992 to 1996 and from 2003 to 2010, Dr. McCallum worked in her home community of Brochet, where she managed community health programs, including a children’s dental program, a diabetes program, and prenatal program, and volunteered for several committees, including a housing committee, a school committee, and an education committee. She also ran a monthly dinner and meeting with the Elders to discuss social issues affecting the community.
Dr. McCallum worked as an independent contractor for the federal First Nations and Inuit Health Branch providing services in northern Manitoba before returning to the University of Manitoba in April 2002 to lead the Aboriginal Dental Health Programs.
Since that time, she has continued to work to provide vital dental and health services to a variety of northern, First Nations, and Indigenous communities throughout the Manitoba region. She currently practices dentistry at the Opaskwayak Cree Nation reserve near The Pas. Dr. McCallum is a member of the Manitoba Dental Association, as well as the Canadian Dental Association.
In addition to her professional endeavours, Dr. McCallum leads workshops and presentations in which she shares her personal experience as a residential school survivor in an effort to raise awareness and understanding.
Dr. McCallum and her husband have two daughters, and she also has a son.
She became a Senator on Dec. 2, 2017