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For immediate release
March 30, 2021
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – All Northerners will benefit from the joint journey to eliminate anti-Indigenous racism in health care, announced by the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and the Northern Health Region (NHR) today.
In recognition of the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Grand Chief Garrison Settee and NHR Chief Executive Officer Helga Bryant held a productive meeting on March 22, 2021, to launch discussions and formalize their commitment to eliminating anti-Indigenous racism in health care in Northern Manitoba.
“In the work ahead, as partners we will work with other First Nations in the region to create a declaration or agreement outlining our goals, objectives, and defining our partnership,” Grand Chief Settee said. “We will provide advice, guidance, and support to the Northern Health Region in this vitally important work.”
“A first step in speaking our truth is to acknowledge the wrongs of the past with honesty and humility,” Helga Bryant said. “We sought the help of a partner who can share their expertise in defeating this common foe of Indigenous racism in health care.”
It is believed that this work will benefit both First Nations and non-First Nations citizens. Indigenous people make up 70 per cent of the population served by the NHR, according to the 2016 Census. MKO represents First Nations in Northern Manitoba. Both organizations see this as an opportunity to work as partners toward the mutual goal of ending anti-Indigenous racism while respecting each other’s worldviews, traditions, knowledge, languages, and cultures. Together we need to disrupt anti-Indigenous racism and improve health services, indicators, and outcomes.
“We know we can accomplish more when we work as partners committed to a common goal,” Bryant added. “The Northern Health Region is committed to strengthening its relationship with Indigenous partners and communities and we are proud to stand with MKO in this commitment of eliminating anti-Indigenous racism in healthcare.”
Grand Chief further states, “Our partnership will also inform MKO’s larger advocacy role to improve and transform health services programs and services for Northern First Nations citizens within the broader overall provincial and federal health systems.”