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MNBC – In Plain Sight One Year Anniversary: What We Have Done and Where We Are Going
Surrey, BC (November 30, 2021) – Métis Nation British Columbia (MNBC) is marking the one-year anniversary of the release of, In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care (IPS), an investigation into racism in the BC’s health care system led by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond. MNBC helped draw attention to a racist “Price is Right” game allegedly being played in emergency rooms, whereby hospital staff would guess the blood alcohol level of Métis and other Indigenous patients. While the report found no widespread examples of the game being played, it found a number of pressing and more serious cases of mistreatment and discrimination involving Métis and other Indigenous people in B.C. when accessing the health care system. The findings of the report confirmed what our citizens have known: Indigenous-specific racism is alive and well in our modern-day healthcare system.
Although underfunded, MNBC has worked tirelessly to improve the health and wellness of Métis people in BC. MNBC formed the Métis Partnership Table, a collaboration of Métis leadership, community members, and Elders, to inform MNBC’s actions across the BC health landscape regarding the provincial task team, a collaboration of Indigenous health experts and allied partners tasked with advancing implementation of the IPS recommendations. MNBC’s work with the Provincial Health Office on the “Métis Public Health Surveillance Report” continues and is expected to be released in January of 2022. MNBC’s work with COVID-19 vaccinations has improved the protections of our communities during the pandemic, and MNBC continues to provide COVID-19 supports in these trying times. MNBC’s Métis Counselling Connect program continues to offer mental health supports to as many Métis citizens as possible until funding ends March 31st, 2022.
“Working with Indigenous patients in my role as a family doctor, I have seen the effects of racism across the BC healthcare system. It is a too frequent occurrence, that I hear from my patients their experiences of dealing with a system that treats them as “less than”. As Co-Chair of the In Plain Sight Task Team, MNBC leadership and myself are advocating to create change in the healthcare system,” says Dr. Kate Elliott, MNBC Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “Our work in the areas such as legislation and complaints has led to increased partnerships and communication with partners. We are all working towards the same goal, but this will not change overnight. Every negative interaction that our citizen face with the system have seriously implication for their overall health and wellbeing. There is a moral imperative to act, this can no longer remain permissible. All Metis people in the province, have the fundamental right to safe and equitable healthcare.
“Métis peoples from across B.C. experience racism when using healthcare,” says Métis Elder Bryce Mercredi. “Our people have known this long before the report came out, and I know we will continue to work towards addressing and fixing this problem for the benefit of our people. With guidance from our Creator, our Elders and the Task Force Team, we will continue our work to create a better system for our people.”
Change to this point has been slower than we hoped. MNBC’s efforts to improve the system are met with misunderstandings of what it means to be Métis. It is essential that the healthcare system improves understandings of what it means to be Métis and the struggles Métis people have accessing culturally appropriate care. MNBC continues to work towards this most important goal.
MNBC has welcomed the formation of the Task Team and welcomes the work of Indigenous health experts and allied partners to implement the recommendations of the IPS report, together.
MNBC Task Team Members:
Métis Elder: Bryce Mercredi, Métis, Fort Chipewyan
Co-Chair: Dr. Kate Elliott, Métis Women BC chair; Minister of Mental Health and Addictions; Minister for Women and Gender Equity
Lissa Dawn Smith, Acting President
Patrick Harriott, Region 1 Regional Director; Minister of Citizenship and Community Services; Minister of Culture, Heritage and Language
Louis De Jaeger, Acting Vice President; R2 Regional Director; Minister of Economic Development and Natural Resources
Debra Fisher, R4 Regional Director; Minister of Children and Families; Minister of Education
Susie Hooper, R6 Regional Director; Minister of Environmental Protection; Minister of Post-Secondary Education
Paulette Flamond, R7 Regional Director; Minister of Health
Daniel Fontaine, Chief Executive Officer; Deputy Minister
Chris Gall, Chief Legal Officer; Assistant Deputy Minister
Tanya Davoren, Senior Director of Health, Mental Health and Addictions, Elders
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