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Archive for February, 2015

Social Policy Forum Update


Dear Respected Chiefs and Leaders of the Province of BC,

The members of the Collaboration & Partnership Working Group of the First Nations Health Council are pleased to provide you this update with respect to the recent meeting of the Aboriginal Delegated Agency Directors, the Leadership Collaboration for a Social Policy Forum, as well as other work to-date.

Aboriginal Delegated Agency Directors Meeting

The CPWG and the Aboriginal Delegated Agency Directors met on January 27-28, 2015 at the Musqueam Cultural Centre, in Musqueam Territory to discuss the opportunity to work together to enhance support for children and families in First Nations communities across BC.

The session began with a traditional Coast Salish blanketing ceremony honouring the Aboriginal Delegated Agency Directors for their unwavering commitment and compassion for assisting First Nations children, families and communities while faced with the challenges of operating significantly underfunded agencies. Most of the Agency Directors had never been honoured for their work, and they expressed heartfelt appreciation for this acknowledgement.

The CPWG offered to advocate securing funding on behalf of the Agencies through a process similar to the process for health. The CPWG offered to work with the Agency Directors to develop their own structure for implementing a plan moving forward in collaboration with other partners.

This was the start of a discussion with the Agency Directors concerning opportunities to collaborate to improve the lives of First Nations children and families; while no decisions were made between the Agency Directors and the FNHC- CPWG, there was general agreement that First Nations must work together to pursue opportunities to assist our children and families.

Meeting with AANDC and Health Canada

On February 2, 2015, the CPWG Chair travelled to Ottawa to meet with the Deputy Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, as well as the Minister and Deputy Minister of Health Canada. We further discussed plans for the annual meeting between the federal Deputy Minister of AANDC and FNHC to discuss health and issues related to the social determinants of health, as agreed within the British Columbia Tripartite Agreement on First Nations Health Governance.

Leadership Collaboration for Social Policy Forum

On the morning of February 6, 2015, the Collaboration and Partnership Working Group (CPWG) of the First Nations Health Council met with members of the Leadership Collaboration for Social Policy Forum (SPF) to further the work on a long term strategy for overall wellness in our communities. The discussion focused on the work done to-date, and the future work of the Social Policy Forum in collaboration with the Provincial and Federal government partners.

Recognition that the health of our people is an outcome of all social determinants is growing among government and within our own sector councils. This is the basis for a forum that would allow for collaboration between our leaders, government, and First Nations councils.

Regional representatives voiced concern on behalf of their communities that the current situation for children and families is a priority across the province. The members present acknowledged that one of the main priorities for collaboration between the SPF and the Provincial government has to be improving the outcomes for First Nations children in this province. The SPF is in the process of developing a wellness plan for the next 10 years that will provide strategic direction for improving outcomes across all sectors in collaboration with the Provincial and Federal Government.

A discussion took place between the members of the Health Council and the SPF concerning their direction from the regional Chiefs and leaders. A portion of the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan (2007) was shared, and it summarized the direction from the regions to move forward with the work of social determinants. The selected passage from the plan reads as follows:

 “Health and wellness for First Nations encompasses the physical, spiritual, mental, economic, emotional, environmental, social and cultural wellness of the individual, family and community. Although the present Plan focuses on health programs and services, it is recognized that the way forward will require a joint commitment to deal with the root causes and structural issues causing socio-economic gaps.”

In the afternoon, members of the SPF were joined by Provincial Deputy Ministers to discuss the partnership between the SPF and the ministries of BC. This discussion focused on the understanding across all sectors, communities, and governments that health is an outcome of many contributing factors, such as literacy, education, affordable housing, clean drinking water, traditional foods, traditional medicines, language, culture, and spirituality. All of these aspects of life allow First Nations people to be true to their ancestral teachings. To produce better health outcomes, the overall approach has to change. This group gathered in an attempt to work with all partners to change how the system currently works. A cross-ministry, cross-government approach to health, and other social determinants must be developed, to set very clear, high level strategic directions that will improve outcomes for First Nations people and communities.

The Provincial delegates reaffirmed their commitment to further the discussion around social determinants of health, and move forward on developing strategies to improve overall wellness. An agreement was reached to commit to quarterly meetings between the SPF and the Provincial Deputy Ministers to collaborate on this work.

Collaboration on the development of an outline regarding wellness for First Nations people and communities will be the priority in the following months. A comprehensive approach to planning the strategic work and the expected outcomes will be undertaken by the CPWG, the SPF sector councils, and the Provincial Ministries.


On behalf of the First Nations Health Council

The FNHC Collaboration & Partnership Working Group

Download this Communique in PDF format here (207 KB)

My Journey Back to Center Court


When I accepted the call to step up to the FNHC Step-Up Challenge I had to begin to change all aspects of my life. The hardest part was starting that first day. After that it was all gravy (but not the kind you eat). I changed the way I ate – researching all the foods that would give me the energy needed to carry out a very hectic schedule of fitness activity. I also researched foods that would help me achieve the weight loss goal that I set for myself.  The Step Up challenge allowed me to become a more active person in my community once again.

I have begun to participate in the sport that I have always loved which is basketball. For the first time in 3 years I participated in the best First Nations Basketball Tournament in North America – the All Native Tournament in Prince Rupert BC. It felt good to be there, for the simple reason I was in better condition. I am not at the level of competing just yet but I felt 100% better.  Next year will be my year, I will be in tiptop shape physically, mentally and spiritually. I am fully appreciating all that I have in my life again like my family and am becoming more involved in all aspects of family activities. It is amazing how people relate to you once you feel good about yourself and regain self-respect because of living healthier. Healthy Spirit, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind. I must acknowledge that a big part of my achievement is the Fitbit.

It just amazes me how this little object has helped pave the way to living a better healthier life. It connects you with people and friends from all over the world. So many people have helped me to become more active in my fitness and in return I have helped many others as well. The Fitbit to me is the best example of reciprocal accountability because it allows you to be accountable to yourself and to others on a daily basis and vice versa. Here is the end of my epistle.

Charles Morven, First Nations Health Council

Check out our January Step Up Winners! Your Cousin many have won.


January was a great month for those taking part in the STEP UP Challenge. Our First Nations Fit group continues to grow. We saw the number of members increase by 1000 in the last 4 months. As of January, 1309 people have joined the First Nations Fit community/activity group.

This month we collectively walked 163,973,725 steps and travelled a distance of 114,639 kilometers, which is roughly the same as circling the Earth nearly three times or a third of the distance to the Moon. The longer the challenge goes on, the more we are achieving. Our achievements are literally out of this world!

While our collective achievements have been huge, we cannot forget the achievements of each of the individuals in this challenge. To all those that have felt the positive effects of staying active in January, our shout-out to you is “congratulations!” No statistics or numbers will ever beat how good your body is feeling right now!

Our Step Up Challenge awards quarterly prizes and the end of January brings the announcement of our second quarterly prize winners. It was a very tight race this time around, however, the quarterly prize buckets will be awarded as follows: Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre on behalf of Gina Warburton achieving the greatest number of steps during Nov., Dec. & Jan.; the Lower Similkameen Indian Band on behalf of Janette Dennis for walking the greatest distance during the same period; and the Lower Nicola Indian Band on behalf of Carol Basil achieving the largest number of active minutes. There must be very dedicated people in the Interior and Vancouver Island as our entire community prize winners have come from there so far. Will the next group of community prizes be headed to the North, Fraser or Vancouver Coastal region?

Ts'ewulhtun Health Centre - January Winners

Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre – January Community Prize Winners

For January, our monthly step winner is Sheri Daw from the Lower Nicola Indian Band. Sheri was also the step winner in September. It’s great to see that she is consistently getting out there and stepping up!  During January Sheri walked an amazing 916,578 steps.

The distance winner for January hails from Nuu-chah-nulth on Vancouver Island. Lynnette Lucas was able to cover a distance of nearly 402 kilometers. This distance would be like walking from Brookes Peninsula to Point No Point of the Nuu-chah-nulth territory.

The most active minute’s winner for January is Charles Morven.  Charles is the Northwest Representative for the First Nations Health Council and is a member of the Nisga’a Village of Gitwinksihlkw. He is also our active minute’s winner for January. It is very encouraging to see our leadership standing right next to us when it comes to individual wellness and physical activity. In January, Charles was active for 4303 minutes which is nearly 72 hours or the length of 28 NHL regulation Hockey games.

The discussion forum prizes go to the following people:

The Community Builder prize goes to Nick Chowdhury, who is also a member of the First Nations Health Council. Chances are, if you have been on the any of the discussion forums and asked a question, that Nick has helped you out. His posts have ranged from his activity during the holidays to getting feedback on Fitbit functions. We, the admin team, say a big “thank you!” to Nick for making our jobs a little easier on the forum and giving valuable insight into his journey.

This month, we saw many who have inspired others; however, the Inspiration prize goes to Mandy Jimmie from Merritt. For those of us reading the posts, it is very inspiring to see Mandy pushing herself at work and to hear that staying active is her biggest motivator. We also love to hear that staying active is helping with sleep, flexibility and food intake.

The random prize is awarded to one that has completed the “About Me” section of their profile as well as their profile name. The other important thing is to add ActiveAdmin (active@fnha.ca) as a friend.  All of which are in the instructions that are sent along with your fitbit. For January, the random prize goes to Dean Heron from the North. Dean has been a part of the challenge since November and is walking on behalf of his community of Kitselas.

A big “Congratulations” to all of our winners in January. We will be in contact and your Fitbit prize will be in the mail as soon as possible. whilst you’re waiting, it might be a good idea to check out some Fitbit accessories and reviews, just to keep you excited!