Kitchenuhmaykoosib lnninuwug – NEWS – In the early hours of Friday, February 10, 2017, Kitchenuhmaykoosib lnninuwug tragically lost an 11-year-old girl to suicide.
Everyone in our community, especially her family, friends, classmates and school staff, is reeling from the tragic death of this young girl. The loss of life at such a young age is a loss to Kitchenuhmaykoosib lnninuwug’s future generation. Most importantly, the loss of a young child in any circumstance is one too many.
On Wednesday, February 8, 2017, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott spoke to reporters during the Liberal Cabinet retreat in Calgary. Minister Philpott conceded that with respect to providing health care to First Nations children, the system is “broken” and has had trouble spending new money the Liberal government earmarked to close the gaps in care because of a lack of capacity.
First, I strongly refute Minister Philpott’s comment regarding a lack of federal capacity to deliver care to First Nations children. The Government of Canada’s laws and policies regulating health services for First Nations people were written during the Colonial era. The laws and policies were written to benefit the Government – not the First Nations people. Therefore, the release of new Liberal money for First Nations is caught in the Government’s own quagmire of laws and policies, respectively: the Indian Act of 1876 and Indian Health Policy of 1979.
Health Canada has said many times that it wants to fix our “broken” First Nations health system. As my community has just experienced a suicide tragedy, I want to say the health system is not broken. In fact, the system is doing exactly what it is designed to do. The health system is designed so mental health resources do not make their way to our children. The health system is designed to respond only when we hold a news conference about a crisis.