The seven interior First Nations and Interior Health renewed their Partnership Accord on June 5, and extended it through 2024.
The accord, originally signed in 2012, is a commitment to collaboratively improve Aboriginal health outcomes and ensure cultural safety across the health system.
According to a release, several updates were made to the renewed accord.
Federal and provincial government endorsements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples were acknowledged, for example, as well as the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
To celebrate the renewal, leaders from the Nlaka’pamux, Dãkelh Dené, Secwepemc, Tsilhqot’in, St’at’imc, Ktunaxa and Syilx Nations attended a signing ceremony, along with the Interior Health board chair as well as the president and CEO.
“We have come a long way in a short time,” said Syilx Nation representative Allan Louis. “This progress is founded on the relationship built by the Partnership Accord Leadership Table (PALT) and Interior Health in the years prior to the first signing.
“Now, with renewal of the Partnership Accord, we continue to enhance this relationship. Our challenge now is to ensure equal access for all health services in a culturally appropriate way.”
Secwepemc Nation representative and PALT co-chair Charlene Belleau said the renewal was an “important milestone on a long journey to culturally safe and equitable health care for our people.”
“Our growing partnership with Interior Health is a key part of this process,” Belleau said.
Interior Health president and CEO Susan Brown agreed.
“I am proud and honoured to work in partnership with Interior First Nations as we continue to strengthen our relationships and work to have a positive, measureable impact on health and wellness outcomes for First Nations people,” Brown said.
“I am personally committed to this work, and to cultural safety and cultural humility being embedded in all aspects of care across Interior Health. I am excited to see what else we can achieve together through continued collaboration in the years ahead.”