FNHA Marks Two-Year Anniversary of Transfer



The FNHA marked the two year anniversary of transfer of health services from Health Canada's First Nations Inuit Health Pacific to the FNHA on October 1, 2015. During Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey VI Commemorating the Transfer ceremony on October 22, 2013, First Nations Health Council representative Willie Charlie of Sts'ailes was the floor manager while Living Markers and Corner Posts from each region were stood up to ground the historic work in ceremony.

Living Markers are young people from First Nations communities that are chosen as witnesses when a significant event takes place. The event is marked with their age as a reference point, making them ambassadors to the work. Corner Posts are also selected as having worked many years in their communities or regions and providing a foundation by which to mark the work related to their experiences.

"We need to remember the commitment that was made in ceremony. In this health work with First Nations we've marked every significant step with ceremony. Our belief is that when you take care of the spirit, everything else will fall in line. One of the things in ceremony is that we remember who we are, who we're working for, and it's not just the people of today. Remembering our ancestors and the future generations that we're setting the table for," said Willie Charlie. "Our belief is that we were supposed to look after things for seven generations. It means clean air, good water, good health, the land, the resources on the land, our relationship to all things and our songs and our ceremonies."

In the Commemorating the Transfer ceremony, attendees were also asked to write down, on two pieces of paper, things that they would want to let go of and things that they would like to keep.


"With the things we wanted to let go of, the idea was that the things we have been subjected to along this path that have given us those thoughts, sometimes they're not our own. Sometimes they're imposed on us or entrenched in us. So that was to let go of those negative feelings, those negative attitudes that are holding us back. The idea of hanging on to something is the strength that has gotten us this far. Let's hang on to some of that strength, let's hang on to some of that tenacity or determination going forward. It's those strengths we all have that are going to get us somewhere."

FNHA Living Markers from each region provided some words on the two year anniversary of Transfer:

"Reflecting on the last two years, FNHA has accomplished some incredible feats and they would not have been possible without the support of our community, including employees. The growth in numbers and the transformation of existing, and creation of new, teams has been occurring at such a rapid pace and we have only just started.

In BC we have some incredible wellness champions who lead the way, demonstrating and fostering the health and wellness environment and approach to health care. In continuing and increasing our wellness at individual, team and organization levels, we will be in a better position to create and maintain strong, collaborative partnerships. This leaves me filled with emotions—emotions of excitement, curiosity and hope as a positive step towards improving the health and wellness of BC First Nations."

Wenona James-Point - Fraser Salish Region

"The paths I've walked and the learning I've experienced these last two years have shifted dramatically while transitioning into what is now my present. I've become much more in tune with what Wellness means to me. The different conversations I've been lucky enough to have within the FNHA family (and with my own kin) has taught me that 'Wellness' is not a standard set of beliefs or conditions by any means.

To be 'well' means a thousand different things to a thousand different people and overstanding the way others view this state of being has helped me identify my two pillars: intention and manifestation. Each of us is engaged in the daily maintenance of our own balancing acts and the awareness that this is the case brings me peace of mind because it reminds me that I'm not walking this path alone. Wishing you all well on your own personal journey!"

Mishon Sutherland – Northern Region

"Today my reflection is on our first Directive, "Community-Driven, Nation-Based," and I think about how we started this journey. We, as a community of Nations, decided that we should have control of health services for our communities. We decided that programs, services and policy development must be informed and driven by the grassroots level.

To mark the two-year anniversary of transfer of health services, I think about how far we have come and how far we have yet to go as the country watches us on this journey. We are challenged to do new things while remembering what we know from old ways. We are travelling in directions that may not be familiar but if we remind ourselves of that first directive, "Community-Driven, Nation-Based", we will remember why we are here and will keep our communities in our hearts as we move forward together with hope, courage and confidence."

Janelle Tom - Vancouver Coastal Region

 "On the two-year anniversary of health transfer, I reflect on how much we have grown as an organization and how much I have grown as a person. I have a great wellness plan, a great team and a bright future ahead of me. I have made the decision to further my education so that I can continue my contribution to the betterment of First Nations health in BC."

Jenn Smith - Vancouver Island Region

 "Within the past two years, I've witness changes within not only myself, but my co-workers, team members and more importantly, people I call "Family."  We have become the FNHA family, a group that inspires and supports each other through campaigns to better ourselves, like the Moose Hide Campaign or Change Day, as well as through our own personal journeys. 

Many of us have a "best friend" at work or even, in some cases, a fraternal/spiritual brother or sister.  These relationships have become so strong and reliable that it has created great trust amongst each other.  I'm proud of the strong foundation we have built within these two years, that we can begin working towards the growth and transformation for healthier BC First Nations people, families and communities."

Jordie Johnson – Interior Region

 An FNHA Transfer anniversary event was hosted with Change Day BC at downtown Vancouver FNHA offices on October 1, 2015. The event included words from FNHA senior leadership, joined by Squamish Nation Chief Ian Campbell and representatives from Change Day BC. Change Day BC is an international initiative that invites those involved in health and social care to commit to an act of change that will improve care for patients or the health system. As the first-ever First Nations Health Authority, our organization is uniquely positioned to effect profound changes in health services for First Nations people.

Many FNHA staff have pledged personal commitments for Change Day (see them here!) and are leading for the most-liked pledges throughout the province. As an organization established for change, the FNHA is excited to take part in the Change Day initiative and mark another milestone on our ongoing journey and transformation.