Aanii! This year on June 21st we are provided with an opportunity to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples in Canada and to celebrate our diverse cultures and achievements. As Indigenous Health Lead for the Faculty of Health Science, I along with many internal and external helpers engaged in a task, over an eighteen month period to co-create a comprehensive Indigenous health education strategic plan. Our over-arching goal was to foster relationships both on and off campus and ensure that we maintained an inclusive approach. We are very appreciative for the collaboration of our Indigenous community partners and our Indigenous alumni and students who responded to our call for participation. Their input to our process was invaluable and we aim to continue to work closely with as many as possible in this next implementation phase of our work.

The primary focus of the implementation phase is on the co-creation of an Indigenous Health Learning Lodge. The Learning Lodge is a structural entity within the Faculty of Health Science that espouses an Indigenous academic community of staff, faculty, students and Elders with linkages to internal and external collaborators. The implementation of the Learning Lodge will support the growing momentum to implement the strategic plan. It will establish an Indigenous structural presence, support the Faculty systemic change process and the system reform that is needed to close the gaps in health outcomes, educate non-Indigenous healthcare professionals and faculty and address the barriers that continue to exist for Indigenous learners in the Faculty. 

There is lots of work to be done yet and in our shared Covid - responsive reality, there will be many challenges. However, the pandemic shines a light on the existing and enduring health inequity experienced by Indigenous peoples. We have no choice but to continue our work by/with Indigenous people to influence and effect the systemic change that is needed to address inequities in health, education and in many other social spheres. We also aim to draw on and learn more about Indigenous peoples unique and diverse knowledges, strengths and experience in this process. It is a message of hope and self-determination for this year’s National Indigenous Day as we continue this important work within the Faculty of Health Science. Chi Miigwetch!

More about National Indigenous Peoples Day:
https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1100100013718/1534874583157

For ideas about how to join in local celebration activities, see this Hamilton Spectator article:
https://www.thespec.com/news/hamilton-region/2020/06/17/how-hamilton-is-celebrating-national-indigenous-history-month.html

Also visit this McMaster online ‘National Indigenous History Month Display’
https://libguides.mcmaster.ca/national-indigenous-history-month

There are some great books to read that are listed here:
https://libguides.mcmaster.ca/national-indigenous-history-month/e-books

This link provides information about Indigenous focused databases:
https://libguides.mcmaster.ca/national-indigenous-history-month/databases

See this video about Father’s Day from an Indigenous perspective:
https://www.facebook.com/paulette.moore.98/posts/10158875827977792