September 30th is a significant day for all Canadians as we observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day. This day serves as a reminder of the historical traumas endured by Indigenous communities across Canada due to ongoing impacts of the residential school systems, and our collective responsibility toward reconciliation.
Committing to reconciliation together
At IWK Health, we recognize the importance of acknowledging this traumatic legacy and are committed to taking meaningful steps toward reconciliation.
As Call to Action 22 reminds us, it is up to all of us who can effect change within the Canadian health care system to recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices and use them in the treatment of Aboriginal patients in collaboration with Aboriginal healers and Elders where requested by Aboriginal patients.
One notable example of IWK’s commitment is the introduction of the Supporting Smudging Policy. This is one very important way to provide culturally safe care and contribute to improving health care experiences for Indigenous patients and families.
We can take a strengths-based approach, looking at the many things Indigenous people and communities offer, while also working to address inequities and improve care. The following resources are available to help you better serve and improve the health outcomes of Indigenous patients, clients and staff.
- Learn about the treaties between Mi’kmaq people and settlers, which remain in place today.
- Learn about and understand the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Calls to Action.
- Learn about Tajikeimik, the new and developing health and wellness organization being created to lead health transformation for Mi'kmaw communities in Nova Scotia.
- Engage with Indigenous communities and organizations while being mindful of community capacity. Familiarize yourself with the First Nations principles of ownership, control, access and possession – more commonly known as OCAP®.
- Learn more about Indigenous health systems, including jurisdiction over health care. Examples include the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program and Jordan’s Principle.
Please take advantage of these opportunities to listen and learn.
As we commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we also look forward to upcoming opportunities for learning and celebration, including Mi’kmaq History Month in October and Treaty Day on October 1st.