Collaborative Project Seeks to Determine Indigenous 'Healing Indicators'


Graphic facilitation created during a 2021 meeting of the Environment Community Health Observatory Network. Click on image for full size.

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) is engaged in a collaborative project with Simon Fraser University (SFU) which will help identify ecological indicators that are based in the 7 Directives and examine how those indicators contribute to Indigenous-led Health Impact Assessments.

Called Healing Indicators: Research in Indigenous health impact assessment and self-determination, the project has two main goals.

The first is to help determine the FNHA’s ongoing role in Environmental and Health Impact Assessment processes of industrial projects. Environmental Public Health Services (EPHS) staff are requested to participate in the adjudication of the health and wellness impacts—both positive and negative—of these projects.

Secondly, the work builds on the connection to land and self-determined ecological indicator goals highlighted in the First Nations Population Health and Wellness Agenda.

Healing Indicators is developing tools and clarity to help communities and staff respond adequately to health impact assessment requests. For example, we are working on templates for EPHS staff and communities, to help respond to Impact Assessment requests as well as a matrix to identify how to respond to whom. The work also builds on the ongoing land-based indicator research the FNHA has been progressing.

The project is supported through a Health Systems Impact Fellowship and came about through the Environment Community Health Observatory Network (ECHO) a national and international collaboration involving the FNHA, SFU, University of Northern British Columbia and Northern Health, and multiple other institutions across Canada.

ECHO is a five-year research program that began in May of 2017. The purpose of the network is to take notice of, and respond to, the influence of resource development on health and well-being, with specific emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous communities and environments.

From Oct. 12-14, ECHO will be co-hosting a gathering in Cowichan territory. The meeting is a wrap-up of the project that will also discuss next steps for the ECHO collective that is emerging from the network, including future work on climate change.

Pilot projects for the Healing Indicators work is forthcoming with a toolkit deliverable planned for 2023. Communities and community members interested in this work are encouraged to get in touch with EPHS.
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