The plenary session on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) at Healing Our Spirit Worldwide (HOSW) addressed the key issue of self-determination for Indigenous health, legislation and the social determinants of health.
The session was moderated by Canadian Senator Patti Laboucane Benson and panelists included Richard Jock, First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) in British Columbia (BC); Mick Gooda, former Social Justice Commissioner in Australia, and Stacy Bohlen, National Indian Health Board in the United States.
The session highlighted the healing journeys that Indigenous communities have started through self-determination in the areas of health, legislation and language.
Indigenous Health: Richard Jock, Chief Executive Officer, FNHA
During his session, Jock focused on the effects of UNDRIP on health, in particular how UNDRIP has helped the FNHA develop as an organization.
“The UNDRIP principle of self-determination supports us in our effort to transform the way health care is delivered to First Nations people in BC," says Jock. “That is why we place an emphasis on community-driven and Nation-based health care."
Jock described several areas where the FNHA is innovating health care for First Nations in BC. Areas of innovation include the First Nations-led Primary Care Initiative, virtual health and wellness services, implementing cultural safety and humility standards, and more.
Indigenous Legislation: Mick Gooda, Indigenous Rights Advocate and former Social Justice Commissioner
Gooda discussed the important role that UNDRIP played in his work as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner. The declaration provides public servants and Indigenous rights advocates with a comprehensive framework for action to influence laws, policies and program reforms.
“Human rights are not just words on a piece of paper. Human rights count when they are enjoyed by the people," said Gooda. “The Declaration guided everything we did at the Human Rights Commission. It promotes the right to self-determination and allows us to take more control of our lives and our communities and to be involved in the decisions that affect our lives."
Indigenous Social Determinants: Stacy Bohlen, Chief Executive Officer, National Indian Health Board
Bohlen opened by discussing how the National Indian Health Board serves as the voice for public health, justice, and healing, among other things, for all 574 Nations in the United States. The National Indian Health Board recently developed a paper on the Indigenous Social Determinants of Health – a project that seeks to tap into Indigenous knowledge in this area.
“We're working hard to implement the paper on the world stage," said Bohlen. “We will heal – on our terms and in our language."
This session highlighted the profound influence of UNDRIP in empowering Indigenous communities to shape their own healing journey in the areas of health, legislation and language. Stay tuned for more updates from keynote and plenary sessions from HOSW.