June is National Indigenous History month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. The Cree Board of Health and Social Services of James Bay (CBHSSJB) acknowledges our Cree culture, traditions and history.
Our very existence is deeply connected to the land, Eeyou Istchee, and the abundant plants, birds, animals and fish that nurture our body, mind and souls. For millennia, we draw upon the land and our culture to be strong, resilient and brave as we face the past, present and future.
The discovery of unmarked graves of 215 Indigenous children near Kamloops IRS reminds us of Canada’s tragic history. The residential schools that scarred the lives of many survivors and their families still traumatize many. The assimilationist and racist policies and treatment of First Nations, Inuit and Metis students were created and perpetuated by the federal government and churches. These policies or the practice of them remain in the mindsets of many Canadians. We honour all Indigenous peoples, communities and Nations still impacted by these experiences and systemic racism.
The Cree Health Board declared on June 16, 2021 by resolution its support of Joyce’s Principle and will strike a working group to take further action. This followed the adoption of a similar resolution by the Board’s Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists of Region 18.
Joyce’s Principle aims to guarantee to all Indigenous people the right of equitable access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services, as well as the right to enjoy the best possible physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Joyce's Principle requires the recognition and respect of Indigenous people’s traditional and living knowledge in all aspects of health.
This call to action, solidarity and commitment by Canada, Quebec, the public, health professionals and organizations is essential to dismantle systemic racism and advance the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples.
These sentiments resonate in our daily lives and workplaces. As Cree Health Board staff, we must move forward together with our allies on this journey of reconciliation in supporting anti-racism and giving culturally safe care. On June 21, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, please reflect and enjoy cultural and family activities that show the strengths and gifts of Indigenous people, contributing to their communities and Nations.