On Monday, September 25, 2017, the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) and the 14 Chiefs of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the NTC Annual General Meeting in Port Alberni, BC.
With this MoU, the FNHC agrees to advocate for and support the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council to make progress on the NTC’s mandate; to seek funding for NTC and its member Nations; to improve program and service delivery; and to make progress on the social determinants of health, which are understood within the Nuu-chah-nulth concept of “hish-uk-ish-tsawalk”—everything is connected. This aligns with the FNHC’s long-term goal to support Nations to achieve their own vision of health and wellness, including those seeking Nation-to-Nation partnership models with BC and Canada.
The signing of this agreement supports one of the FNHC’s key directives: to foster meaningful collaboration and partnerships to achieve progress on the social determinants of health. In 2011, the FNHC was established by BC First Nations leadership as the political advocacy branch of the new health governance system. Resolution 2011-01, endorsed by Chiefs, mandates the FNHC to build relationships with other First Nations organizations, provincial and federal governments to progress work related to the social determinants of health.
As per this mandate, the MoU sets out how the NTC and FNHC will work together in a good way (“isaakmis”) to advance their partnership and shared interest in health and wellness, health system transformation, and addressing social determinants. This MoU will help the FNHC to better support Nuu-chah-nulth to achieve its vision of change.
In entering into this agreement, the FNHC recognizes and respects the autonomy of Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations over their health-related structures and decision-making processes for the health, unity and self-determination of their people. In this way, the agreement supports a process that is truly Community-Driven and Nation-Based. This means that the process will be driven by the needs and priorities of NTC member Nations first and foremost.
This is a momentous milestone that recommits both parties to collaboration and sets the standard for how the FNHC works with and supports Nations as they pursue their own path of self-determination in health and beyond. It solidifies our common interest in advocating for First Nations health and wellness, supporting health system transformation and addressing the social determinants of health.
The MoU was signed in sacred ceremony and committed the NTC and the FNHC to develop, nurture and evolve a partnership that is enduring, productive and healthy.