Canada must improve it’s efforts to realize the potential within Indigenous communities. Collective attention and action are needed to ensure the health and well-being of First Nations in Canada.
Investments in First Nations Health and Well-Being – The Government of Canada must make a substantial and ongoing investment in the health and well-being of First Nations. This can only be done through adequate, predictable and sustained, multi-year funding of First Nations’ health programs. This includes primary care programs, prevention programs, cultural care, as well as increases and positive changes to the non-insured health benefits. Specific care must also be taken to address cancer care, addictions and treatment, diabetes care, heart health and Elders’ care.
- Mental Wellness – Mental health issues affecting our First Nations must be addressed. Substantial new resources and programs and increased service levels are needed to address addictions and substance abuse in First Nations, including the alarming opiate crisis. Youth programs are needed to address the well-being and needs of First Nations’ children and teens. Youth suicide can be overcome by marked improvement in mental wellness and greater availability of mental health services.
- Link to Cultural, Language and Identity – The path to good health and well-being for First Nations is different. As a result of colonialism, Canada’s assimilation policy, and the Residential School era, the loss of First Nations’ languages and cultures is substantial. Work must be undertaken to minimize this loss and to re-establish cultural identity through pride in oneself, one’s family, community and nation to improve health and well-being.
- Support of First Nations Traditional Healing – First Nations’ healing methods have been used for millennia. These traditional medicines and holistic treatments were used to help generations of early Settlers. Canada must take action to support the health and well-being of First Nations by providing additional supports for First Nations’ traditional healing.