By Jesse Johnson
CURVE LAKE FIRST NATION – The Anishinabek Nation’s Health Transformation Team has moved a step closer to exploring what needs to be done to improve Anishinabek health.
Chiefs-in-Assembly endorsed a resolution to direct the Anishinabek Nation Health Secretariat to prepare a business case to secure funding for the next level of engagement and explore the feasibility of an Anishinabek Health Authority to strengthen the engagement process by conducting community meetings for each of the 39 Anishinabek member First Nations, as well as regional meetings. This engagement also includes reaching out to tribal councils, health agencies, and other organizations that provide health services to Anishinabek First Nations citizens regardless of residence; and, to develop health governance models, with direction from the Chiefs Committee on Health, for consideration by the Chiefs-in-Assembly at the next Grand Council Assembly.
“This is a huge step in the process of improving the health programs and services for Anishinabek. If the business case is successful, it would result in the ability to conduct complete and thorough assessments of each community’s health system,” says Health Transformation Project Manager Loretta Nootchtai. “This resolution will give us the opportunity to move to phase two of our project, which is hearing from the people at the grassroots level. These are the people whose voices matter most.”
The Grand Council Assembly heard received an update from Health Transformation Lead Gerrilynn Manitowabi about the need to reach Anishinabek Nation member First Nations at a bigger scale.
“Getting this resolution passed is important so that we can get our business case approved. Once the business case is approved, we can secure more funding for the next level of engagements and explore the possibility of an Anishinabek Health Authority,” says Manitowabi.
The approved resolution will give more direction for Health Transformation moving forward. So far, there have been introductory engagements with interested Chief and Councils, but this passed resolution will give the Health Transformation Team an opportunity to hold community engagement sessions with each of the 39 Anishinabek Member First Nations.
“So far, we have met with 17 Anishinabek Nation Chief and Councils, but this resolution will give us the ability to meet with community members so that together, we can begin to figure out what Health Transformation will look like in its final stages,” says Lisa Restoule-Brazier, Health Transformation Engagement and Working Group Coordinator.
The Grand Council Assembly also approved a resolution directing the Anishinabek Nation to advocate for the Government of Canada to amend the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program to include coverage for the services provided by naturopathic doctors, ensuring that Anishinabek people who choose these services have equitable access to comprehensive healthcare consistent with the principles of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
For more information on Health Transformation, please visit: www.health-transformation.ca.