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Archive for May, 2015

Wellness 2025 Strategy


Top 10 things Chiefs and Leaders need to know:

  1. What is the Wellness 2025 Strategy?

The Wellness 2025 Strategy is a First Nations Health Council led conversation with BC First Nations about the development of a 10 year wellness strategy to continue our work to achieve our vision of “Healthy, Self-Determining, and Vibrant BC First Nations Children, Families and Communities.” The work is just beginning, and a regional community engagement process is being proposed. Through this process First Nations in each region will determine and inform the priorities of the Wellness 2025 Strategy.

  1. What is meant by social determinants of health?

Social determinants of health are underlying factors that influence our quality of life and have also been called ‘areas of community wellness’. There are many factors that impact the health of First Nations such as:

  • Health services
  • Income and social status
  • Employment/working conditions
  • Education
  • Gender
  • Social support networks
  • Social environments
  • Personal health practices and coping skills
  • Biology and genetic endowment
  • Culture
  • Physical environments
  • Healthy child development

BC First Nations have already given direction to achieve progress on one of the social determinants of health – health services delivery.  In order to continue improving the health and wellness of First Nations, we also need to work to improve the other social determinants of health.

  1. How is the social determinants connected to health?

This short video shows how improving social determinants of health (areas of community wellness) can result in improved health and wellness for First Nations individuals: Watch it here.

  1. Where and when did FNHC get direction from Chiefs to look at social determinants of health?

BC First Nations Chiefs endorsed Resolution 2011-01 and Resolution 2012-01 that established a mandate for the FNHC. Part of the mandate included Health Advocacy and Relationships.

  • To achieve progress in the social determinants of health
  • Develop relationships and alliances with other First Nations organizations, government ministries and departments.

BC Chiefs also adopted the BC Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nations Health Governance (BC Tripartite Framework Agreement.)  In Section 8 of this agreement, it called for annual meetings between Canada (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) and the FNHC to discuss health and issues related to the social determinants of health.

  1. How will the Wellness 2025 Strategy priorities be determined?

The health and wellness priorities identified within the proposed Wellness 2025 engagement process, as well as the Regional Health and Wellness Plans will inform and guide the focus of the Wellness 2025 Strategy.

  1. Does the Wellness 2025 Strategy include transferring child and family services programs to FNHC?

The FNHC supports First Nations aspirations for recognition of their Aboriginal Title and Inherent Rights including jurisdiction for children and families. In adopting governance standard Directive 6: Be Without Prejudice to First Nations Interests, BC Chiefs made it very clear that FNHC must avoid jurisdiction matters. FNHC is not advocating for jurisdiction and the transfer of children and family services programs to the FNHC.

The FNHC is advocating for healthy partnerships to change policies, increase resources for communities, and improve services for vulnerable First Nations children and youth as part of the proposed Wellness 2025 Strategy.

  1. What will be achieved through this strategy?

The goal is to improve the lives of First Nations community members through ongoing support, services and initiatives in a number of areas within health and wellness. . Achieving progress in the areas of community wellness (social determinants of health) will result in improved health and wellness outcomes for children, families and communities. We will do this by:

  • Liberating policy to establish a shared decision-making arrangement to increase First Nations decision-making and control
  • Increasing investments in First Nations communities
  • Improving services
  1. What does the term “policy liberation” or “liberate policies” mean?

Policy liberation is the ability to change policies that federal and provincial governments use to administer program resources. While the existing legal framework does not change, the policies are changed and improved for the betterment of First Nations.

  1. Where is the funding coming from?

The FNHC is advocating for new funding from the federal and provincial governments partners to assist us to undertake the governance and community engagement work within the regions necessary to build consensus amongst First Nations leadership. The Wellness 2025 Strategy will create space for the federal and provincial government to consider partnerships with BC First Nations to continue improving the health of First Nations by achieving progress on the social determinants of health.

  1. What will this community engagement process look like?

Rather than reinvent the wheel, the idea is to build on the success of the existing Engagement and Approvals Pathway used to guide our work to transform health services. To better understand the opportunities and challenges of community wellness priorities within the regions, the Wellness 2025 engagement process will use a Workbook tool to gather feedback, and development of a provincial Consensus Paper to confirm the direction of BC Chiefs and Leaders.

Read more about the Wellness 2025 strategy here (PDF 1.33 MB)


Report of the Chair- May 28, 2015


Doug Kelly with a commitment stick

Status Quo – is a noun that means the current situation or the way things are now.

Fear – is a noun that means an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Power – is a noun that means the ability to do something or act in a particular way, or the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.

Change – is a noun that means the act or instance of making or becoming different.

Courage – is a noun that means the ability to act in spite of fear or strength in the face of pain or grief.


On Tuesday, May 5, 2015, Chiefs and Health leaders gathered for a leadership forum.  Our dear respected Musqueam Elder Shane Point opened our forum with words of wisdom, teaching, and encouragement.  Elder Point reminded us that the first job of a leader is to make sure that our children are safe.  In making certain that our children are safe, leaders must make certain that our women, the mothers of our children, are safe.  Shane was humbled to receive a pair of small hand paddles in the Gathering Wisdom conference bag.  He invited Chiefs and leaders to open their bags and to remove the paddles.  Chiefs and leaders tapped their paddles together as Shane offered a chant and prayer.

Shane reminded us that the gift of a paddle is a high honour.  When we receive a paddle, the host is inviting Chiefs to join the canoe and to paddle.  Shane prayed that leaders would paddle together and make sure that our children and the mothers, our women, are safe.

After the opening courtesies, we heard from a very powerful panel. We heard first from Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond the Representative for Children and Youth.  Mary Ellen called upon Chiefs to provide leadership.  Too many of our children are in the care of others.  We need to keep our children connected to their families and cultures.  This is the work of Chiefs and leaders.

Chief Charlene Belleau and Irene Johnson issued a call to action on ending violence against Aboriginal Women and Girls.  Chief Charlene presented the cold facts about the violence against our women.  Irene shared her powerful and compelling story of trauma, healing, and forgiveness.  Chief Charlene Belleau called upon Grand Chiefs, Hereditary Chiefs, elected Chiefs, and Tribal Chiefs to join her at the front.  Charlene gave the Chiefs a “Commitment” sticks.  She called upon the Chiefs to work hard together to ending violence against Aboriginal Women and Girls.

Charlene explained that when we are engaged in battle to end violence against our women – we tether ourselves to the commitment stick and plant in the ground.  When the battle gets tough, the commitment stick keeps us from running.

Our dear Elder and our women leaders demanded action to transform the Status Quo for our children and women.  Our dear Elder and women leaders recognized the responsibilities of leaders to make sure that the children and mothers are safe.  To help us, to give us strength, our Elder gave us teachings and encouragement.  Our women leaders gave us a commitment stick.  As tough as the battle gets, we cannot run.  We must see this work to a conclusion.

The First Nations Health Council is responsible for leadership and advocacy.  I accepted the gift of a commitment stick.  We are in this battle to keep our children and the mothers safe.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair, First Nations Health Council

Image taken from Global News

Award winners for the Beefy Chiefs 2.0 Step Up Challenge were recently announced at Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey VII!


The 10 month challenge was initiated in June 2014 and gathered momentum through the fall. Of the 5,000 BC First Nations taking part over 1800 actively competed for prizes on fitbit.com.

On April 30, 2015 the totals rolled in and they are impressive! Group total for distance was 764,426 KM (equivalent to walking 19 times around the earth!), group total active minutes of 3,567,271 minutes (equivalent to 6 years, 9 months and 12 days!) and group total steps of 1,181,698,715. Grand prize winners received community wellness grants for their respective communities.

Kim Roberts - #1 Most Step Winner
Kim Roberts – #1 Most Steps Winner

The awards ceremony was hosted by Dr. Evan Adams and Grand Chief Doug Kelly.

1. Kim Roberts: Kwakiutl District Council Health Centre, Campbell River $4,000
STEPS: 8,085,978
2. Sheri Daw: Lower Nicola Indian Band, Merritt – (Sheri is also the Quarter 3 prize winner for most steps.) $3,000
STEPS: 6,616,937
3. Val Rubinato: Gitxsan Health Society, Hazelton – (Val is also the Quarter 3 prize winner for greatest distance.) $2,000
STEPS: 5,420,232

1. Gina Warburton: Ts’ewulhtun Health Centre, Duncan  $4,000
DISTANCE: 3,283.52KM
2. John Powell: Mamalilikala-Qwe’Qwa’Sot’Em First Nation, Village Island $3,000
3. Robert Clydesdale, Nooaitch Indian Band, Merritt $2,000
DISTANCE: 2,460.33 KM

1. Carole Basil: Lower Nicola Indian Band, Merritt $4,000
2. Janette Dennis: Lower Similkameen Indian Band, Keremeos  $3,000
3. Ruby Alexis: Okanagan Indian Band, Vernon $2,000

Doug Kelly, The Original Beefy Chief
Doug Kelly, The Original Beefy Chief

Congratulations to all participants! Keep Stepping Up! The Step Up Challenge registration remains open but sign up soon as supplies are limited!