Edition: Autumn Equinox - September 2012
Aboriginal Health Governance
Since our last newsletter, partners have been working to ensure the foundation is in place, legally and operationally, for the transfer of federal health programs and services currently under Health Canada First Nations and Inuit Health to the First Nations Health Authority for the targeted date of July 2, 2013.
As mentioned in the Minister’s Message, it is no small task to transfer a program of this size; a number of sub-agreements are being developed to ensure a smooth transition. The sub-agreements include: Health Benefits; Human Resources; Assets and Software; Canada Funding Agreement; Information Management and Information Sharing; Accommodation; and Capital Planning/First Nations Health Facilities. Read more
Health Actions Update
The Health Actions strategy areas have been advancing on the momentum built from Gathering Wisdom V. The following updates focus on some of the more prominent successes.
Health Human Resources (HHR) Strategy Area
Over the summer months, we have been working with our Tripartite partners to identify and invite participants to join HHR Planning Committee meetings in the four HHR priority areas of: health career promotion, training and professional development; workforce recruitment and retention; and planning and forecasting for future health workforce needs. We are looking forward to contributing to Planning Committee meetings this Fall, to support the HHR goals of increasing the number, mix, and distribution of First Nations and Aboriginal workers in the health field, and ensuring that health workers provide services in a way that is culturally safe for First Nations and Aboriginal peoples. Read more
New Aboriginal Provincial Coordinator hired to coordinate Healthy Living Activities
The Aboriginal Healthy Living Activities will be coordinated by a new Aboriginal Provincial Coordinator this year, as the Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch recently hired Mara Andrews (Project Lead) and Piri Robinson (Project Consultant) of Kahui Tautoko Consulting (Canada) Ltd (KTCL) - an Indigenous consulting company operating in Vancouver. Read more
Aboriginal Youth Internship Program
In September 2012, the Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch welcomed two new Aboriginal Youth Interns from the Provincial Government’s Aboriginal Youth Internship Program - Andrea Medley and Monique Auger. The interns will be with the branch until the end of May, then work in an Aboriginal organization for three months, from June to August 2013. Both interns will have the opportunity to work on a range of topics. Andrea is primarily supporting the governance work, while Monique is supporting health actions. Profiles of both Andrea and Monique follow. Read more
Range of National Aboriginal Day events held at Ministry of Health
During the week of June 18th, the Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch (AHLB) recognized National Aboriginal Day with a number of activities and events for Ministry of Health employees.
Leading up to National Aboriginal Day, the AHLB hosted a film series with the CBC program "8th Fire," made up of four dynamic documentaries about contemporary Aboriginal people in Canada. In addition, a guest speakers’ series was held with inspirational Aboriginal speakers from a variety of backgrounds. Dr. Evan Adams spoke about health and resilience of Aboriginal people in Canada and internationally; Bradley Dick spoke about local First Nations history and protocols in the Victoria area; and Stephanie Papik spoke about the Aboriginal Youth Internship Program and her experiences as an Aboriginal business owner. Read more
Indigenous Cultural Competency Training Promoted with Sign-up Contests at the Ministry of Health
Last year, disappointingly, only 94 Ministry of Health staff participated in the Indigenous Cultural Competency training, which offers a wealth of information on how staff can work more effectively and respectfully with First Nations and Aboriginal peoples. It is free for all Ministry of Health staff. Read more
Where Am I Now?
by Nikki Heinel, Aboriginal Youth Intern
After completing my first placement with the Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch I got to move back home to lovely Vancouver. I began my second and final placement with an Aboriginal organization called Red Fox Healthy Living Society. Here I spent a wonderful two weeks visiting various schools and recreation centres throughout East Vancouver facilitating physical activities for youth with a team full of fantastic individuals. Unfortunately my placement came to a quick end due to a federal cut in funding that they received, meaning that they could no longer operate. Although my time spent there was short I learned a great deal from Red Fox and developed a huge amount of respect for the team that serves the youth there in East Vancouver. I saw firsthand how the programs and services they offered positively affected so many young hearts. Read more
As the new Minister of Health, I am pleased to provide an update on our collective work to improve the health and well-being of First Nations and Aboriginal peoples in British Columbia (BC). This quarterly newsletter will inform you about progress on initiatives underway and the staff and partners working on them.
The Tripartite partners (the First Nations Health Council (FNHC)/First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Health Canada and the Ministry of Health (MoH) have been working diligently to ensure successful implementation of the BC Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance. Since the last newsletter, the partners have been working to ensure that the foundational elements for the new First Nations Health Authority are in place, legally and operationally, for the federal transfer targeted for 2013. This requires a number of sub-agreements which are currently being negotiated, and the development and signing of a Health Partnership Accord between the parties which will “capture the vision of the Parties for a better, more responsive and integrated health system for First Nations in BC.” The latter will be finalized in the Fall. The regional health authorities having already signed various Partnership Accords and Letters of Understanding with First Nations Health Council regional caucuses. Read more
Greetings from our Executive Director
The work we do with our partners is so new, so unprecedented, that while a bit anxiety provoking at times, it is exciting and motivating as well. First Nations and Aboriginal people in BC are headed for a new world of wellness, and we are doing everything we can to develop a system which supports that process. The phenomenal changes required to achieve the goals set out in the Transformative Change Accord, the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan, and in the BC Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nations Health Governance – personal, organizational and systemic changes – require open minds, hard work, and collective action. I have been so impressed with the commitment and passion shown by all of the participants in this process, and the energy that they have brought to the work. Thank you to all of you!
We congratulate the staff, board and member BC First Nations on the official creation of the First Nations Health Authority. At the writing of this, we await the final approvals on the Health Partnership Accord, which reaffirms our commitment to the spirit of partnership that underlies our work, and speaks to how we will move forward together.
On behalf of the staff of the Aboriginal Healthy Living Branch, I wish you a happy, healthy and productive ‘new year’.
Dr. Shannon M. McDonald
Gathering Wisdom V
Gathering Wisdom V for a Shared Journey, held May 15-17, 2012, brought together over 800 delegates including BC Chiefs, Health Directors, and Provincial and Federal Partners to discuss the future of health for First Nations in BC. At last year’s forum BC First Nations made history by adopting a resolution to support a tripartite legal agreement to transfer the operations of Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch-BC Region to a First Nations Health Authority and enter into a new health partnership with federal and provincial governments. This year we continued our collective journey towards First Nations control of the design and delivery of First Nations health programs and services, and a new health partnership with federal and provincial governments. Read more
37th Annual Elders Gathering - Supporting Elders to Live Well!
By Mary Chu
What a privilege it was for Lori Isaac and me, representing our Branch, to witness and participate at the 36th Annual Elders Gathering, hosted in Abbotsford from July 10-12, 2012, by Tsawwassen First Nations and Stó:lo Communities! With the theme “Lets’emót” One Heart, One Mind, One Family, this event brought together an estimated 2,500 First Nations Elders and loved ones from all over BC, plus approximately 500 additional service providers, entertainers, volunteers and vendors.
The Gathering provided a wonderful opportunity for Elders to meet and renew friendships, celebrate and be recognized for their contributions, and learn and share together. Their Honours, the Honourable Steven L. Point, Lieutenant Governor of BC and Mrs. Gwendolyn Point , Chiefs of the host Nations, as well as the Gathering’s “King” Roger Andrews and “Queen” Audrey Kelly, were among the Dignitaries who attended. Activities included ceremonies, inspiring guest speakers, entertainment, opportunities to visit a wide range of information booths, and self-care services including blood sugar testing, foot care, massage and traditional healing. There were also opportunities to visit vendors’ booths selling a wide variety of items, and opportunities for excursions in the area. Read more
How I Spent My Summer Holidays...
As we move forward into the Fall, we are energized by the opportunities we have had over the summer to spend time with family and friends, re-visit favorite places, and experience new adventures. Here are some of the things we have been up to...
Dr. Shannon McDonald, Executive Director
The big event of my summer was the retirement of my husband, Lorne Charbonneau, from his job in Manitoba on June 1, and FINALLY moving him out to join me as a permanent resident of BC, after two long years. I travelled to Winnipeg for the big event, and after lots of family time, especially Kokum time with my grandson Will, we packed up the truck and trailer for a five-day journey from Winnipeg, across the country to Victoria.
The rest of the summer has been the odd extended weekend and mini-staycations of (new) hometown tourist day trips. Read more