Conversations That Matter: Sacred and strong — women in First Nations health care

Report details ways to put traditional teachings back into First Nation health care

Vancouver Sun 2 minute read November 12, 2021

The right to make one’s own health choices may be a right in B.C., but not

 if you are a First Nations person and even less so if you are First Nations female.

“Sacred and Strong” is a recently published report from the First Nations Health Authority focused on the health and wellness of First Nations women and girls in B.C.

The report seeks to “reclaim First Nations teachings and protocols around birth, pregnancy and mothering, empowering women as life givers.”

It embraces a holistic health approach highlighting the many ways that First Nations women and girls can and are thriving.

The report also lays bare systemic barriers that have created health inequities along with steps to move beyond a hostile history in Canada.

While acknowledging the pain and suffering of treatment within the health care system in Canada, the report also shows the way forward.

The First Nations Health Authority says, “Women and girls are the current and future matriarchs of our communities, they are the life givers, the grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters and daughters who are vitally important caretakers of First Nations culture — they keep it alive and communities strong. They are, and have always been, both sacred and strong.”

We invited Dr. Shannon McDonald, acting chief health officer of the First Nations Health Authority, to join a Conversation That Matters.

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