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Health Transformation News

Get caught up with SCO Health Transformation news:

Working Toward Health Sovereignty: August 2023

As SCO continues work to build its own Health Authority for southern First Nations, Grand Chief Jerry Daniels and eight Chiefs from our southern First Nations met on August 22 to hear presentations and updates, and to discuss our efforts.

During the meeting, Health Transformation staff shared updates on their anti-racism strategy and the ongoing negotiations with the provincial and federal governments. Staff also shared strategies to address the priorities of our citizens. These include incorporating ancestral and traditional knowledge, having more supports for mental health and addictions, and getting more First Nation community members working in their local healthcare field.

Through community engagement sessions, citizens have emphasized the importance of working collectively, noting that we have strength in numbers and that more can be accomplished together rather than individually. We agree and are committed to moving forward in unity.

Councillors, Chiefs, and health directors provided their input and feedback on projects such as point-of-care testing and medical transportation for First Nations citizens. They also discussed the work their respective communities have undertaken to support their members.

Our partnerships and dialogue with these leaders are invaluable, and Grand Chief Daniels looks forward to continued collaboration on efforts to address the 11-year and growing gap in life expectancy between First Nations citizens and all others living in Manitoba.

Treaty Relations Workshop Series: September to December 2022 

Elder Harry Bone facilitated a four-part Treaty relations workshop series called Bzindaan Ji-Nsaatamaan, Listen to Understand (PDF), which helps us understand the Treaty history of Manitoba and its importance in community health and wellness. 

Indigenous Midwifery Gathering: October 2022 

Indigenous midwives gathered in Winnipeg to listen, learn, and strategize on the incorporation of birth knowledge and the community history of First Nation peoples into developing the new southern First Nations healthcare system. Read more.

Community Health Walk: August 2022  

Health Transformation launched a community health walk campaign to promote land-based healing and unity in health care among our southern First Nations by reminding them that our culture and traditional values give us the strength and ability to take control of all aspects of our health. Read more.

Land-Based Youth Gathering: August 2022 

The SCO Youth Council, in collaboration with SCO Health Transformation, hosted a gathering in Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. The event focused on strengthening connections to other youth, to the land, and to ancestors as a way of promoting healthier and more culturally grounded lives among southern First Nation youth in Manitoba. Read more (PDF)

Traditional Knowledge Forum: May 2022 

Health Transformation hosted a forum at the Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng. Grandmothers and Grandfathers from the 34 Southern First Nations in Manitoba came together to discuss the path forward into a healthier future. Read more (PDF).

Youth Media Lab: March 2022 

Health Transformation hosted a Youth Media Lab workshop with youth. The workshop was designed to empower youth with basic skills in digital media creation and to promote positive life outcomes through good health. Youth participants shared unique stories and experiences on health in the form of creative health messaging on stickers and buttons. Watch the Youth Engagement report video.

SCO Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Canada: June 2020 

Anishinaabeg and Dakota peoples will assume greater control of their health and wellness, as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed on June 18, 2020, in a ceremony between SCO and the Government of Canada.  

The MOU signals the beginning of health transformation for First Nations in southern Manitoba. 

Under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, First Nations have inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights that include the right to health and self-determination over health systems. In addition, Treaties reaffirmed First Nations’ jurisdiction over our own health systems and established a positive obligation on the Crown to provide “medicines and protection,” and Aboriginal rights affirm First Nations’ right to self-determination towards our way of life. 

The path forward to improved health outcomes for First Nations must include high quality, culturally safe health systems designed by and under the leadership of First Nations. The MOU formalizes both parties’ commitment to a working relationship. 

In 2007, the United Nations emphasized the importance of Indigenous rights to pursue self-determination in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The MOU responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and the Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. 

All levels of government recognize the need to work collaboratively to establish a new health care model where First Nations, leadership, and health care professionals have increased self-administration, self-determination, and self-governance authority.  

In September 2019, the Chiefs-in-Summit passed a resolution supporting the health transformation process, “Exercising our Treaty and Inherent Right to Health.” First Nations will assume greater control and be responsible for the design and delivery of community-based health care services. 

Through a community-driven process, the SCO will work with First Nation partners and all orders of government to build a First Nation health system in southern Manitoba.