OTTAWA – HEALTH – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated that the recent report by the Wellesley Institute entitled “First Peoples, Second Class Treatment” is an important contribution to addressing the current issues facing First Nations people in the health care system and provides useful recommendations to address these challenges.
“The report is in line with what First Nations have been saying for years: that the poor health of our people is due to many factors but they are all connected by roots in colonialism,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The report describes the challenges our people face every day in getting care and dealing with racism in the health care system. We saw this reality documented in the recent report of the Brian Sinclair Inquest in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We all need to act to change this reality. The AFN is doing its part to make positive change in healthcare but it’s going to require a commitment from all Canadians.”
The Wellesley report provides clear directions forward in tackling these issues, and its recommendations are closely aligned with the AFN’s work on health. This work includes supporting a determinants of health model rooted in First Nations perspectives of wellness; dealing directly with the problem of racism within the health field from policy to patient care; and supporting First Nations control of First Nations health programs and systems. Acting on these recommendations is a necessity and requires efforts by all Canadians because eliminating racism individually and systemically is everyone’s responsibility.
For more information on the AFN’s work on health please visit: http://health.afn.ca/en