• “Message from the Chair of the Indigenous Knowledge Helper Working Group”

    - Val King

Aanii - Greetings

My name is Val King. I am the current Chair of the Indigenous Health Initiative (IHI) - Knowledge Helpers Working Group. This Working Group was established as one of the six Working Groups that focus on important elements of the Faculty of Health Science's response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) Call to Action.

Indigenous peoples across Turtle Island continue to advocate for meaningful change in the current health system in order to make sure that the health care we receive is culturally safe. To achieve this goal means that those who educate future doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals need to make room for and respect our ways of knowing about health and well-being.

An important first step is to include and support our Knowledge Helpers in the reform process. Our Working Group aims to guide the Faculty of Health Science in the strategic planning that is underway. Educating the Faculty about Indigenous ways of knowing and collaborating in the process to harmonize various aspects of the work including curriculum, faculty education, and policy reform is key to this process. We also aim to support the oversight and governance of this work through the sharing of our teachings and values in the IHI Steering Committee process. Four of our Knowledge Helpers are appointed to the Steering Committee.

An important next step in this process will be the inclusion of Knowledge Holders and Healers to be included in the dialogue. We will continue to support this ongoing work and we would like to congratulate the Faculty of Health Sciences in taking this important step to respond to the TRC.