Hello Providence Colleagues,
With the release of our first-ever Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation Action Plan, Providence Health Care marks an important time in our history. It is a time that every one of us can help shape.
The Action Plan gives form to the statement in our recently refreshed strategic plan, Mission: Forward that:
Providence Health Care is committed to the process of Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and it is embedded in everything we do.
This strong and solemn commitment recognizes the colonial abuses perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples. It recognizes that these harms continue today, and it recognizes that Providence Health Care – as a Catholic-sponsored health care organization – has both a responsibility and an opportunity to help redress, repair, and support reconciliation.
The Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation Action Plan guides Providence’s collective commitment to truth, justice and reconciliation. Truth and reconciliation requires us – as an organization and as individuals – to develop a shared understanding of the past and its lineage into the present. It requires each one of us to take action grounded in humility and cultural safety.
The plan’s actions are anchored to the recommendations of In Plain Sight and other key reports* that address systemic anti-Indigenous racism in the health care system. These reports are endorsed by Indigenous Peoples and governments in BC and across the country. In total, the reports offer close to 600 recommendations. A working group led by myself in my role as VP of Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation and Deb Mitchell, PHC’s Chief Strategy Officer, reviewed each recommendation to determine its applicability and priority for Providence Health Care.
The Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation Action Plan mirrors the Foundational Principles of Mission: Forward, and describe what these mean in the context of Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation. For example, the principle of person and family-centred care articulates that this “requires the vigilant application of anti-racist and cultural safety lenses across our organization and the active celebration and honouring of the culture, successes, contributions and rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
To further ensure that the plan is fully integrated into everything we do, its goals and actions are nested in the four strategic directions of Mission: Forward. The Action Plan identifies priorities for this year and describes outcomes anticipated within five years. It is bold and transformational.
No wonder, then, that when Salish Knowledge Keeper, Sulksun Siem (Shane Point) prepared and led a blessing at the site of the new St. Paul’s Hospital and health campus, he received a vision of Squah-low, the Beaver.
“Squah-low…changes geography and ecosystems totally,” he said. “It changes the behaviour of all the other beings who live in the area and all those who are going to come. It is a big change.”
Reconciliation is a big change. It is the social, economic, and cultural issue of our lifetime. It is a journey that offers us at Providence Health Care the opportunity to set a course for a more just and promising future for the Indigenous patients, residents and families who we serve.
I encourage you to read the Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation Action Plan—and some of the reports listed below— and reflect on your part in this collective journey we have embarked upon together.
Harmony Johnson, VP, Indigenous Reconciliation and Wellness
Download the Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation Action Plan here: https://www.missionforward.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Indigenous-Wellness-and-Reconciliation-Action-Plan.pdf
Download the IWRAP Plan on a Page poster here: https://www.missionforward.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/Indigenous-Wellness-and-Reconciliation-Action-Plan-Plan-on-a-Page.pdf
*Our goals and actions are drawn from the:
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)
- Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry (MMIWG)
- Red Women Rising (RWR)
- In Plain Sight (IPS)
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)