Today is National Indigenous Peoples Day
June is National Indigenous History Month and today, Tuesday, June 21st 2022, marks the 26th annual National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. On this day, and throughout the month of June, BC’s health professionals are reminded to take some time to celebrate, reflect on, and learn about the rich history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Metis Communities.
As health professionals, it is vital that we continue to reflect on our relationship with the Indigenous Peoples in our communities. Social and generational issues faced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada continue to present major problems in healthcare settings, and can often result in alienation, inappropriate treatment and barriers to access.
Taking the time to learn about the rich history and vibrant culture of both your local First Nations and of all Indigenous People in Canada, is an important first step on the road toward reconciliation. Today, we ask that you join us in celebrating the significant contributions Indigenous People continue to make to Canadian life; reflecting on our shared history; and uplifting First Nations communities as we move toward reconciliation.
All of us have a role to play in building Indigenous Peoples’ trust in our health system, as well as re-building our relationships with Indigenous communities in BC and across Canada.
In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-Specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care
Indigenous-specific racism and the enduring legacy of colonialism continue to present persistent barriers for Indigenous peoples when accessing appropriate health care services. Released in December 2020, the In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care Report found significant evidence that the majority of Indigenous Peoples in BC have encountered racism and discrimination within our healthcare system, both as patients and as health care workers. Indigenous Peoples described unacceptable personal interactions and poorer quality of care, as well as feeling unsafe when accessing health care services and interacting with health providers.
This runs in direct opposition to our mandate which is to ensure that all British Columbians are provided with safe and ethical pharmacy care.
The College would like to remind BC’s pharmacy professionals of how urgent and important it is to acknowledge the existence of anti-Indigenous racism within our health system and that Indigenous people have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
Apologizing to Indigenous People and a Pledge to Be Anti-Racist
In May 2021, working alongside the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC), the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC), and the British Columbia College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM), we issued an apology to the Indigenous peoples and communities who have experienced racism while engaging with us and the health professionals we regulate.
As part of this apology, the Colleges pledged to take specific actions both within our organizations, and as partners in the broader health landscape, to address and dismantle the Indigenous-specific racism that exists within our health care system.
Since making this apology, the collective actions and accomplishments of all four colleges has been compiled in the following report:
Your Journey Toward Cultural Safety and Humility
As we continue to move toward a more culturally safe health system that is free of racism and discrimination, we all must embark on our own journeys to learn about and celebrate the history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and British Columbia and to find ways that each of us as individuals can address and ultimately dismantle Indigenous-specific racism within our society.
Explore the following resources and learn how you can help make our health system more culturally safe:
- About National Indigenous Peoples Day (Government of Canada)
- San’Yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Course
- Truth and Reconciliation report
- In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care
- Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act
- Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- Declaration of Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services Delivery for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples in BC
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Health Inequalities and Social Determinants of Aboriginal Peoples' Health report
- #IndigenousReads Reading List
- National Indigenous Peoples Day (Government of Canada)
- First Nations, Inuit and Metis Learning Portal (Government of Canada)
CELEBRATE ONLINE AND IN-PERSON
There are a variety of virtual events to participate in this year as well as some in-person ones which you can attend in accordance with the public health guidelines. You can see if your local First Nation or community has planned an event, or check out this interactive map.
Also be sure to check out National Indigenous Peoples Day live and virtual activities happening in your region through Celebrate Canada!
For more information on First Nations, Inuit and Métis-led virtual activities, please visit:
- the Assembly of First Nations
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
- Métis National Council
- your local Friendship Centre
EXPLORE A FIRST PEOPLES' MAP OF BC
The First Peoples’ Cultural Council has launched a living interactive map highlighting the diverse languages, arts and rich cultures of First Nations communities in BC. You can find local art, landmarks and cultural centres, and hear greetings and pronunciations of place names.