Coast Salish Territory | The First Nations Health Council (FNHC) thanks Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond for the update on work to implement recommendations from In Plain Sight report. The report continues to remind us of the daily, lived experiences for First Nations in BC. We have long-recognized the negative health outcomes that result from racism in health care. The FNHC – working alongside its partners at the FNHA and FNHDA – share a goal of health equity for First Nations in BC and a health system experience free from racism.
Community-Driven, Nation-Based. Our work is grounded in a set of 7 directives that define standards for our health governance relationship. Directive #1 – Community-Driven, Nation-Based – is fundamental to our engagement approach. It’s clear that a top-down approach hasn’t worked for our people. This is why we engage with Chiefs, leaders and communities the way we do – using our established Engagement and Approvals Pathway as the foundation for gathering wisdom, input and guidance on the First Nations Health Governance Structure. This Pathway guides all ongoing engagement processes through regional caucus events.
Evolving Governance. Dr. Turpel-Lafond’s update notes that: “… efforts appear to be emerging on the governance issues highlighted in the Review – an independent Chiefs’ committee has been struck to engage on the First Nations health governance structure.” Our made-in-BC health system is autonomous and rooted in the wisdom and decisions of Chiefs and leaders who, in 2011, gave a direct mandate to the FNHC to be an advocacy organization directly accountable to them. Further, in 2020, prior to release of the In Plain Sight report, the FNHC and the FNHA re-committed to being directly accountable to Chiefs and BC First Nations through direct engagement, reporting and evaluations. In particular, the FNHC has:
- Initiated an 18-month engagement process to hear directly from Chiefs and leaders about its role and mandate leading up to Gathering Wisdom XII; and
- Initiated an independent evaluation of the FNHC – which will be presented at Gathering Wisdom XII. Initiated an independent evaluation of the FNHC – which will be presented at Gathering Wisdom XII. A volunteer Chiefs’ Working Group, comprised of regional representatives, has been established to help inform and guide this non-mandatory evaluation process.
The FNHC (along with the FNHA and FNHDA) are committed to championing and embedding cultural safety and humility in BC. Together, we have jointly developed an Anti-Racism, Cultural Safety and Humility Framework and accompanying Action Plan to support the vision of a racism-free health care system. Equal access to healthcare requires shared accountability or actions. This reciprocal accountability with our partners in BC (and Canada) will help to ensure that BC First Nations experiences with health are free from ongoing incidents of racism.
About the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) The FNHC provides political leadership for implementation of Tripartite commitments and supports the health priorities for BC First Nations. It is one of four pillars of the First Nations Health Governance Structure in BC, along the FNHA, the FNHDA and the Tripartite Committee on First Nations Health (including the BC and federal governments). The FNHC’s mandate is to oversee transformation of the health system, make progress on the Social Determinants for Health and advocate for First Nations decision-making in health and wellness. Visit FNHC.ca for more information.