Treaty 2 Territory – The Health and Wellbeing Circle Keeper has been working to help develop a foundation to determine what health and wellbeing means for Treaty 2 Territory and identify what a law process could look like. The following questions and answers have been created incorporating feedback received from the Women’s Council, Earth Lodge, and from other First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory Circle Keepers and their respective engagement processes.
What was health and wellbeing of First Nations in their traditional territory before pre-colonization?
Since time immemorial, our ancestors of the Anishinaabe Nation enjoyed a life as energetic beings – full of success, balance, health and prosperity through its relationship with the land, animals, plants, water, resources, natural medicines and mother earth. This was achieved through ancestral and natural laws, governance, beliefs, peacemaking, culture, practices, knowledge, wisdom and a good way of life – mino bimaadiziiwin.
How did colonization impact Anishinaabe health and wellbeing?
The Anishinaabe Nation’s society and family systems were interrupted because of acts of colonization, genocide and assimilation. It resulted in devastating outcomes and disproportionate impacts to health and wellbeing over generations.
What is the Health and Wellbeing Circle?
The resolution 2019-08-07-001 established the Health and Wellbeing Circle which authorized the establishment of a Not-For-Profit structure to carry out its nation-based and territorial wide objectives.
On 17 March 2020 the Governing Council endorsed a resolution to create the FNT2T Health and Wellbeing Circle and establish a structure that will be managed by a representative from each of the Local Nations. The FNT2T Women Council plays an integral advisory role.
The Government of FNT2T provides oversight under a sovereign and inherent based health and wellbeing authority within the Treaty 2 Territory. The Circle will create a legal path to help heal our spirit and balance energies from this interruption and create a brighter future for the next seven generations. The work will integrate Western science and ancient and modern Anishinaabe practices, knowledge and wisdom.
What is the mandate of the Health and Wellbeing Circle?
The mandate of the Circle is to help coordinate a process to develop an inherent, ancestral and Treaty based Good Life – Mino Bimaadiziwin Inakonigewin (Law). The goal is to restore and heal the health and wellbeing of the Treaty 2 Territory Local Nations, restore jurisdiction, and deal with overlap and ambiguities in the delivery of health and health services.
This will be achieved through the guidance and leadership of the Local Nations, FNT2T, and health experts. To this end, as an important first step, the Health and Wellbeing Circle is drafting a multi-year strategic action plan and budget for the health and wellbeing law development process which includes engagement with the Local Nations and citizens through the FNT2T Government Structure.
Why do we need a law?
The Law development process will assist Local Nations in T2T to create and establish their own distinctive-based Health and Wellbeing Law. This law will restore the principles of Mino-Bimaadiziwin and the seven Anishinaabe laws of Love, Wisdom, Courage, Truth, Honesty, Respect and Humility.
The written living law will entrench ancestral and inherent rights to sovereignty and self-determination to restore an Anishinaabe health and wellbeing system to improve the health and wellbeing of the Nation. This law will be the foundation to build future health related laws, regulations, policies, services and programs and fiscal requirements for the Local Nations.
What could be in the law?
The law will be one that is broad and comprehensive to set the foundation for self-determination and governance over all aspects of the health care system and wellbeing for Treaty 2 territory citizens. Potential areas of the law could include:
- Sustainable, predictable and equitable health funding
- Health and Wellness Centres in Local Nations
- Substantive equity for fiscal health funding and holistic health services and programs
- Ensures equity and quality of care in and out of Local Nations.
- Create one that is broad and comprehensive
- Health Human Resource and Training Capacity
- Health Data and Knowledge Sovereignty
- Primary, Secondary and Tertiary care: Mental Health, Public Health, etc
- Enforcement of Health-related orders such as Public Health and Emergency Measures orders
- Intellectual law protection of traditional medicines and health practices, including the conservation of vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals in the traditional territory
- Sports, Recreation, Leisure
- Other as identified by engagement of Local Nations.
Local Nations can adopt or adapt the Law for their respective Local Nation.
How will this work fit in with the federal announcement for the co-development of Indigenous Health Legislation?
The work of the HWB Circle and engagement with leadership and Local Nations will guide and provide a platform on which to negotiate the co-development of federal Indigenous Health Legislation.
Kim McPherson, Health and Wellbeing Circle Keeper
Last modified: August 13, 2021