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Archive for November, 2017

Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey 2018 – SAVE THE DATE INVITATION


Dear BC First Nations Chiefs and Leaders,

The First Nations Health Council (FNHC) is pleased to invite Chiefs and Leaders to Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey IX, taking place May 15-17, 2018 at the Westin Bayshore on Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver.

This unique forum is the largest First Nations health and wellness forum in BC and the only one of its kind in Canada.  Since its inception, the Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey forums have set the stage for BC First Nations to design a more accessible and culturally appropriate system of health care in BC.

As we continue our collective journey in health transformation, this year’s Gathering Wisdom forum will provide an opportunity for Chiefs, Leaders, Health Leads and Social Leads to set direction on a long-term approach for addressing the social determinants of First Nations health in BC.

This Gathering Wisdom forum will feature discussions on health and the social determinants of health. It is an opportunity for First Nations to engage in direct dialogue with each other and federal, provincial and health system partners on factors that influence the health and wellness of their children, families and communities.

A key feature of the Gathering Wisdom forum this year will be a leadership discussion on a ten-year social determinants of health strategy. Throughout the past year, the FNHC has engaged First Nations leaders, health leads and social leads at Sub-Regional Caucuses, Nation Assemblies and Regional Caucuses to develop a direction for the social determinants of health work. Informed by ongoing discussions, Chiefs will be asked to make a decision on the direction of this work.


The First Nations Health Council is pleased to invite three (3) representatives from each BC First Nations community:

  • One Political Lead (eg. Chief or Proxy Designate with Chief’s Approval)
  • One Health Lead (eg. Health Director, Community Health Representative or Health Portfolio Holder)
  • One Social Lead with expertise in health and/or social services (eg. Social Development Worker, Social Program Director, Children and Family Worker)


Important note: It is up to each community to choose how they want to participate in the Gathering Wisdom forum this year within the three affiliations described above. Due to the nature and focus for this year, the participation of political representatives from each community is encouraged by the FNHC.



FNHC will reimburse travel and accommodation expenses for the above-mentioned three representatives from each BC First Nations community.

Attendees are responsible for arranging their own travel and accommodation to/from the forum.


Registration will be opened mid-January 2018.

We kindly ask that delegates register before the deadline on Friday, April 27, 2018 at 5:00pm to confirm your seat!

Please note: pre-registration is mandatory to attend the forum. After this date, attendance cannot be guaranteed due to space constraints, and accommodation may not be available at the forum’s hotel venue.

For more information: email GatheringWisdom@pacegroup.com

Download this information in PDF format here (57 KB)

Commitment Stick Grant Renewal to Support First Nations Healing


​​The work is not done yet. Commitment Stick grant renewal to support First Nations healing

Community-driven initiatives support ending violence against Indigenous women and girls ​​


Recent events in BC draw attention to the ongoing need for community-driven support and safety for women and girls. To promote resilience and healing, all five First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) regions are re-opening applications for $1,000 Commitment Stick grants to hold events or ceremonies to end violence against Indigenous women and girls.

“Do not be silenced. News and media reports of recent events, including the identification of human remains of Traci Genereaux and charges for the murder of Pamela Napoleon remind us that we must be diligent and committed to stop violence against women every day,” says Chief Charlene Belleau of Esk’etemc First Nation. “Keep our Commitment Sticks staked solid to the ground every day, empower our Indigenous women and girls to be strong and powerful women within our nations. The future of our Nations is at stake with every murdered and missing Indigenous woman or girl.”

The Esk’etemc (Alkali Lake) Commitment Stick initiative was launched November 2016 to end all forms of violence against women and girls, and is premised on the idea that First Nations must be involved in their own healing. FNHA will provide $1,000 event grants to support any First Nation prepared to tackle this issue at home. These grants are open to communities who may already have hosted events.

“Our people coming together, we are gathering in our territories to tell truths,” says Joe Gallagher, Chief Executive Officer, FNHA. “We know this work is not finished and there is much we need to do to support Indigenous women and girls, be strong allies, and stop violence and unsafe behaviours in their tracks.”

The idea of the Commitment Sticks started with Esk’etemc Elder Fred Johnson Sr., with the support of Chief Charlene Belleau. Esk’etemc Commitment Sticks are symbols of a personal commitment to live violence-free and to actively stop violence against Indigenous women and girls.

“Four generations of my family have experienced violence, sexual assaults and abuse at the hands of men and women. Creating safety for children, women and vulnerable adults starts in our own backyards,” says Grand Chief Doug Kelly, Chair of the FNHC. “I implore the men and women in positions of power to do something. Great grandparents, grandparents, aunties and uncles must keep an eye on their children and vulnerable adults to keep their family members safe.”

At Gathering Wisdom in May 2015, over 120 Chiefs and leaders took up the Esk’etemc Commitment Sticks and pledged to work together to end violence against Indigenous women and girls in First Nations communities. This commitment was renewed by community leaders in a ceremony held last year at Gathering Wisdom VIII.

Application deadlines are:

North – December 15, 2017

Vancouver Island – December 1, 2017

Interior – December 1, 2017

Fraser Salish – December 1, 2017

Vancouver Coastal – December 1, 2017

Learn more about the Commitment Sticks and apply for your community grant here: http://www.fnha.ca/wellness/commitment-stick


Holding a community Commitment Stick event

Projects must support ending violence against Indigenous women and girls and can include but are not limited to community events, ceremonies, meetings and activities, such as:

​> Healing circles or ceremonies,

> Women’s gatherings or feasts,
> Support groups for survivors and families,
> Educational programs,
> ​Initiatives for men and other allies,

> Search parties,
> Community art projects.

Grant funding can cover Commitment Stick event costs including but not limited to: catering, advertising, transportation, honoraria, speakers and facilitators, search expenses, etc.

Supporting Indigenous women starts at home. How to be a good ally to the women and girls in your life:

Believe them. This is the most important first step. Ongoing harassment, assault and abuse are real. Let’s not argue with this fact.

Amplify their voices. Women’s perspectives aren’t always heard, and this can be an opportunity to listen. Don’t support conversations that question women’s honesty or integrity. Allow women to speak and help create space for that if needed.

Stand up for them. You have the power to stop unsafe behaviour while it’s happening. Don’t allow your male friends, colleagues or family members to make derogatory or sexualized remarks about women or girls in your presence. If you are uncomfortable causing conflict in a group, have the conversation with the person who made the comment later, in private.

Support them. There is help out there.

• Connect your friend or loved one with the KUU-US Crisis Line, which provides culturally safe support services 24 hours a day at 1-800-588-8717.

• FNHA also offers short-term crisis counselling services through our Health Benefits program. On-reserve clients can contact their band office for mental wellness services. Clients living off-reserve can contact Health Benefits at 1-800-317-7878 for crisis intervention benefits.

•​ Residential school survivors and intergenerational survivors can also access free professional counselling by calling 1-877-477-0775.

Application Forms

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Fraser Salish

Vancouver Coastal

Vancouver Island

Download this statement in PDF format here (PDF 132 KB)