Vancouver Island Partnership Accord offers integrated, culturally competent and effective First Nations health plan
Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC) - The Vancouver Island Regional Health Caucus of the First Nations Health Council and Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) have announced signing of the Vancouver Island Partnership Accord, signifying the strength of the working relationship in support of health improvements for Island First Nations and all Island residents. The signing took place on the evening of May 14, 2012 in a cultural ceremony during the fifth annual provincial gathering Gathering Wisdom for a Shared Journey forum.
“This is a very important moment for Vancouver Island First Nations partnering with VIHA to provide improved health outcomes for our people,” said Cliff Atleo of the Vancouver Island Regional Health Caucus. “The steps we are collectively taking as First Nations and non-First Nations together are creating new relationships, partnerships, health services, and a shift to prevention and wellness from dealing with sickness only. When we work together we find that we can overcome any adversity and are all stronger.”
This agreement paves the way for the creation of a more integrated, culturally appropriate, safe, and effective health system. Building on the pillar of reciprocal accountability, the Accord commits the parties to work together to achieve shared decision-making and increase the influence of First Nations in decisions relating to health services delivered within the Vancouver Island Region. It also sets out a mutual commitment to improve the well-being of all First Nations people living in the Vancouver Island region regardless of Nationhood, status, and location.
“VIHA is commited to providing health services that are more integrated and that meet the unique cultural and geographic needs of all Aboriginal people,” said Howard Waldner, VIHA President and CEO. “We are proud to be part of this partnership and we look forward to working with the First Nations Health Council and the interim First Nations Health Authority to improve the health status of First Nations people, as well as all residents of Vancouver Island.”
New joint activities between the Vancouver Island Caucus and VIHA under the Accord will include the development of measurable success indicators to accurately gauge progress and a review of VIHA’s Aboriginal Health Plan and First Nations Community Health and Wellness Plans to achieve better coordination.
“This Partnership Accord is another positive step in Vancouver Island First Nations taking a hold of and creating a more effective health system,” said Shana Manson, Vancouver Island Regional Health Caucus Representative. “Our growing partnership with VIHA will lead to great changes in the quality and level of health care delivered to our First Nations communities but also to all Island residents improving the quality of life across the board - Lahalawut’aat.”
The Accord builds on several key documents and agreements to date, including the Transformative Change Accord:First Nations Health Plan, Tripartite First Nations Health Plan, Consensus Paper 2011: British Columbia First Nations Perspectives on a New Health Governance Arrangement, British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nations Health Governance, and VIHA’s 2012 Aboriginal Health Plan.
“Improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people is one of VIHA’s strategic priorities,” said Don Hubbard, VIHA Board Chair. “The signing of the PArtnership Accord strengthens the ongoing relationship between VIHA, the Vancouver Island Regional Health Caucus, and interim First Nations Health Authority and increases partnership and collaboration related to health services for First Nations people living across Vancouver Island.”
The Vancouver Island Health Authority provides health services to over 750,000 people across an area of approximately 56,000 square kilometres, including Vancouver Island, the Gulf and Discovery Islands and part of the mainland adjacent to northern Vancouver Island.
The Vancouver Island Regional Health Caucus of the the First Nations Health Council is composed and representative of Vancouver Island First Nations and serves as the regional planning and engagement forum for First Nations health in the region through the interim First Nations Health Authority.
The Transformative Change Accord: First Nations Health Plan (2006)
The Tripartite First Nations Health Plan (2007)
The Consensus Paper: British Columbia First Nations Perspectives on a new Health Governance Arrangement (2011)
British Columbia Tripartite Framework Agreement on First Nation Health Governance (2011)
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Vancouver Island Regional Report
The First Nations Health Council (FNHC) launched a “Health Partnership Workbook” in January 2011, and made the Workbook available online and as the focus of a series of First Nations regional caucus sessions across the province. The Health Partnership Workbook summarized the discussions about health governance held at more than 100 First Nations regional caucus meetings over the past three years and asked First Nations Chiefs, leaders and senior health professionals in BC to confirm this summary of feedback gathered and share new thoughts and perspectives. The results will inform further discussions, negotiations and relationship building towards the establishment of a new health governance arrangement of First Nations health services in BC.
The feedback provided by First Nations through the regional caucus sessions and the Health Partnership Workbook has been rolled into 5 summary documents – one for each region in BC. The initial regional reports were provided to each region for review, discussion and further amendment in April 2011 and this revised version of the initial draft report was provided again to each region in May 2011.
Vancouver Island Health Council Members
The Vancouver Island Governance Caucus has determined three (3) members based on a formal consultative process, both as individual nations and collectively. They have also determined that the Caucus will be comprised of representatives from each nation of the Nuuchahnulth, Kwakiutl and Coast Salish, each nation determining their own process to decide on caucus representatives.
Coast Salish Seat - Chief Michael Harry
Cliff Atleo Sr.
I was born and raised in Ahousaht. I attended Residential School for nine years. I grew up as a fisherman and worked in this area for 20 years. I worked for the Native Brotherhood of BC for 11 years, from 1978-1989. I served as an organizer, negotiator and Executive Director for this organization. While with the Native Brotherhood, I served as a Canadian Commissioner on the Pacific Salmon Treaty. Since then, I have served as a Canadian Commissioner on the International Pacific Halibut Commission.
I moved on to consulting work in 1990 and eventually to Cheif Negotiator for my Nation of Ahousaht, during the Treaty making process, until 2005. In 1993, I was a negotiator for the Central Region Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, when they secured an Interim Measures Agreement covering Forest Resources management, in Clayoquot Sound.
I was elected to the position of President of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council in January 2009 to September 2009, when the term ended. I was re-elected in September of 2009, for a four year term, as President. The Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council represents 14 First Nations.
In my role at the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, I represent them on the First Peoples Heritage, Language and Cultural Council; the First Nations Fisheries Council and the First Nations Health Council.
Nick Chowdhury is a member of the Da’naxda’xw/Awaetlala First Nation. His Grandfather is a hereditary Chief, and Nick has had the honor of working with and on behalf of his Grandfather on a number of issues, including resources, education, language and health. This time spent with his family at work and throughout the Da’naxda’xw/Awaetlala traditional territory has provided Mr. Chowdhury with a wealth of traditional teachings that continue to guide him in his work and his family life. Nick is married with three children.
Mr. Chowdhury has been selected as the representative for the Kwakiutl Sub-Region of the Vancouver Island Regional Health Caucus. This position also grants him a seat for a three-year term on the First Nations Health Council as a Vancouver Island Representative.
In addition to his work on the First Nations Health Council, Nick works as Resources Manager for Da’naxa’xw/Awaetlala First Nation; Vice-Chair and member of the Sasamans Society; and, engages with other organizations such as the Nanwakolas Council, the First Nations Fisheries Council and the Island Marine Aquatic Working Group.