Working together to support Métis people in BC

Every year on November 16th, Louis Riel Day is a time to learn about Métis history, values, and culture.

SURREY – Every year on November 16th, Louis Riel Day is a time to learn about Métis history, values, and culture. This year, Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) and Fraser Health are reflecting on our joint efforts to support the health and wellness of Métis people in the Fraser Health region.

MNBC recently joined Fraser Health’s Aboriginal Health Steering Committee to further advocate for Métis people and Chartered Communities in the region.

“I’m excited to have Métis Nation British Columbia represented in the Aboriginal Health Steering Committee,” says Willie Charlie, First Nations Health Council Rep.- Fraser Salish Region, Fraser Health Board Member and Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Health Steering Committee. “By strengthening our collaboration, we are ensuring that Indigenous Peoples have equal access to health services delivered in an environment free of racism and discrimination.”

To further the work of the Steering Committee and to better understand the history and distinct culture of the Métis people, both organizations came together on September 16, 2022 to participate in a unique learning workshop facilitated by Lisa Shepherd, a Métis knowledge carrier and artist. Lisa is famous across British Columbia for her iconic beadwork designs and continues to educate on topics such as Métis art, culture and language.

The experiential learning day, called Miyomahcihô which in Michif means: “the person in good health”, aligned with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 23 that addresses cultural competency training for health care workers. It also aligned with the Province’s commitment to addressing systemic racism in the health care system, as documented in the In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care report.

“It was an honour to participate in Miyomahcihô and, in doing so, reaffirm Fraser Health’s commitment to truth and reconciliation,” says Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health president and CEO. “By learning from the teachings that have been shared with us, we can create a health system that embeds cultural safety and humility in everything we do, each and every day.”

Miyomahcihô also built upon the foundation created by the joint Letter of Understanding between Fraser Health and Métis Nation British Columbia in 2019. In the letter, the parties committed to the common goals of equitable access to health services along with improved health and wellness outcomes for Métis people in the Fraser Salish region.

“In order for MNBC to be a self-governing nation moving forward, we need to work with the health authorities in British Columbia,” says Louis De Jaeger, MNBC Minister for Health and Director for Region 2.

“We have to be able to provide the health services our Métis citizens need no matter where they live in the province. We will continue to do the work necessary to build these relationships, to support Actions 4.20 through 4.26 of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People Act Action Plan, and to see equity for our nation. The Miyomahcihô workshop is a good first step in addressing the lack of awareness regarding Métis culture, but it is the first step. With Louis Riel Day on November 16 this year, MNBC would ask all Health Authorities in the province to take November 16 as an opportunity to learn and reflect on Métis history, values and culture,” De Jaeger says.

Learn more:
Kaa-Wiichihitoyaahk: https://metistradingpost.shop/collections/books-resources/products/kaa-wichiihitoyaahk

Métis Speaker Series: https://www.metispodcastseries.ca/

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