Treaty 2 Territory – During the last few weeks the Health and Wellbeing Circle Lead Keeper has been busy working internally to draft strategic documents to plan the important work ahead for a process to develop a Mino Bimaadiziiwin “good life” Law in Treaty 2 territory. Some of the work activities so far includes:
- Working to Finalize a Health and Wellbeing Terms of Reference
- Drafting a Strategic Workplan and companion Budget.
- Attending meetings of the Women’s Council, Youth Council, Earth Lodge teachings and observing community engagement sessions held by the Children, Family and Nations and Peacemaking circles. Observing the engagement sessions is valuable and critical to understand the vision, priorities and goals of the Local Nations as it relates to the work of the Health and Wellbeing Circle. All the Circles interconnects to the Nations’ and citizens’ overall health and wellbeing.
- Continuing to participate and contribute to the work of the Peacemaking – MMIWG2SL+ Sub circle and promote awareness on Canada’s release of the National Action Plan on June 3rd on the National Inquiry’s Calls to Justice. It is important to incorporate the health and wellbeing Calls to Justice into the law development process to ensure the families and survivors testimonies are actioned and FNT2T identifies and supports the priorities of the women, girls and LGBQT2S+ people of Treaty 2 territory.
- Continuing plans for an introductory meeting with the Local Nation Health Directors to establish a sub-circle of health experts to guide the law development process strategic workplan and strategic tasks. This is planned for June 2021
- Continuing to finalize the community-centred law-making engagement plan to reach out to the Local Nations for guidance on what the law should include. This includes an engagement plan with the Spiritual Keepers that is respectful and follows sacred protocols and approaches. This approach will guide the Circle to restore ancestral and natural health laws and ultimately contribute to achieving the good life – Mino Bimaadiziiwin.
- The Minister of Indigenous Services Canada has not responded to the letter from the Grand Chief inviting the department to begin discussions with FNT2T on a fiscal relationship, engaging with FNT2T in the co-development Indigenous Health legislation process and fund the Health and Wellbeing strategic workplan. A follow-up letter will be drafted in the coming days to ensure this relationship is struck and government to government negotiations can begin.
- Continuing efforts to meet with the Niigaanii to maintain open and transparent communication and direction to the Health and Wellbeing Circle.
In the week ahead, the Keeper will work with the Lead Policy Keeper to start to analyze provincial and federal health related laws, work with the Governance and Treasury and Administrative Lead Keepers to finalize the Health and Wellbeing strategic workplan and budget, and start planning how to draft an outline of a health framework.
While this work is occurring, the Keeper recognizes the challenges created by the pandemic to engage Local Nations and health experts, but the Circle is working hard to plan meetings and discussions virtually. The pandemic has exposed the historical barriers and challenges that Local Nations are facing to keep citizens safe at this critical time. The Local Nations have shown true and incredible leadership exposing the funding deficits and that the health system needs to be changed now for Treaty 2 territory. This includes change for all systems such as education, child welfare, and capital and infrastructure. This is a critical opportunity for Local Nations to advocate for substantive equity in funding and to implement the ancestral right to govern over health and wellbeing.
The work of the Health and Wellbeing Circle’s goal is to help and support the Local Nations who have worked tirelessly over the decades to attain the good life – Mino Bimaadiziiwin. It is time to fundamentally change the way heath is delivered and funded in the Treaty 2 territory, and to optimize the health and wellbeing of citizens in the Nation. The Anishinaabe laws will inform policy development, address racism, promote healing, end colonialism, deign of health systems, accountability, and most importantly, live well.
Submitted By: Kim McPherson, Policy Keeper, Health & Wellness Circle
Last modified: June 8, 2021