Indigenous-led health care should improve health outcomes for everyone

A new partnership between the University of Manitoba and Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng First Nation is putting traditional Indigenous medicine at the forefront of health care.

“We have evolved with an understanding and a knowledge that we understand and support the health and wellness of our people,” Elder Dave Courchene, executive director of Turtle Lodge on the Manitoba First Nation, told InFocus host Melissa Ridgen.

”We have a lot of healers out there that have been gifted to work with medicines, and what we’re seeing and witnessing today we are being advised by our own knowledge keepers to really bring back the traditional medicines.”

First Nation, Inuit and Métis still face many barriers to accessing health care for a variety of reasons: remote locations, racism, disrespect in the doctors’ office, language barriers and unrecognized ways of healing from western medicine.

Dr. Sabina Ijaz has been working with Turtle Lodge and the university on this project.

“Indigenous-led health partnerships (are) the only way to really bring out the fullness of the Indigenous knowledge that is there to inform – can inform – our health care systems around the world.

“If (we) just talk about integrating the western system and sprinkling a little bit of culture here and there, we wouldn’t see the fullness of how strong Indigenous medicine really is.”

Read the full article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal about Indigenous-led health partnerships

Later in the show, InFocus heard from a woman who said she was threatened with arrest during a traffic stop.

Tracy Thomas claimed the officer questioned why she had so much money in her wallet and why she was in Winnipeg if she lived in Sagkeeng First Nation.  Even though she co-operated and answered all of the officer’s questions, she said she was arrested.

Then Melissa Ridgen spoke with Blake Desjarlais, director of public and national affairs for the Métis Settlement General Council, about Métis land settlements in Alberta and how other provinces can implement similar land claims.