We stand by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, Métis Nation BC, Indigenous leadership’s recommendations to the BC Ministry of Health and addressing the systemic racism in the health care system.
Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit peoples are particularly disadvantaged as they are living in the intersection of race and gender as they navigate through the health care system that values their concerns and humanity less.
The calls for justice are explicit. Canada and BC have taken no action since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action were presented last year.
Structures of power are the reasons for individual and systemic problems. There are systems in place right now that aren’t working. Government institutions continue to make decisions that do not honour the recommendations made by Indigenous people, and this deliberate inaction results to human rights injustices that manifest across systems from healthcare, justice, education, to child welfare.
In the meantime, community-based organizations, such as Battered Women’s Support Services are out here at the front lines, and we will continue to serve survivors. We offer Indigenous women-led programs, including counselling, advocacy, Elder’s and support groups and different ceremonies such as full moon and sweat lodge ceremonies. Our Wildflower, Women of Turtle Island Drum Group continues to meet every Thursday evening.
Today is National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which is an affirmation of the resistance that Indigenous people have. We continue to be in that battle with them.
“Indigenous, Métis, Inuit and First Nations women and girls have a long history of rightful mistrust surrounding the mistreatment and abuse perpetuated by the Canadian health care systems. A history stemming from forced sterilization and abortions to current days’ refusal to provided appropriate, adequate and timely medical care, to survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault,” said Summer Rain, Manager, Indigenous Women’s Program at Battered Women’s Support Services.
“This is particularly true for our remote/rural Indigenous communities, thus only adding to the intergenerational impacts of trauma and ongoing colonization Indigenous women and girls experience today while trying to access health care services. Yet the Canadian state has not implemented recommendations they have been provided with for years. How many more Indigenous women, girls, children, trans, Two-Spirit and gender non-binary life’s have to be lost or put at risk before there is change? Because I’m not willing to lose one more.”