The RCAAQ has identified urban Indigenous health as a priority area of intervention that will improve quality of life for Indigenous people living in cities. It has been shown time and again that Indigenous people’s past trauma, including the residential schools, is a major and systemic barrier to accessing public services. This is especially the case for health and social services.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada highlighted how the consequences of survivors’ residential-school trauma continues to be felt in following generations. These scars have a major impact on Indigenous health, displaying particularly as self-destructive behaviours. For example, the Indigenous suicide rate is threefold that of other Canadians, while for the Inuit specifically, it is between 6 and 11 times higher. Self-destruction also manifests as addictions, chronic illness (e.g. diabetes) and other social issues (fetal alcohol syndrome, homelessness, etc.).
In its preliminary report Labour Market Conditions for First Nations and Inuit in Québec, the First Nations and Inuit Labour Market Committee (FNILMAC) states that in 2015 about 50% of survey respondents reported emotional and relational difficulties.
To reduce socioeconomic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, the RCAAQ works with stakeholders to develop service complementarity between the Native Friendship Centres and the public healthcare and social service system.
Our culturally relevant and safe approach takes the form of local initiatives. These provide urban Indigenous residents with better access to health and social services and they reduce Indigenous social inequalities as compared to other Quebecers and Canadians.
The RCAAQ and the Quebec Native Friendship Centre Movement positively influence health determinants. The individual and collective actions of their programs, services and activities reduce the factors of vulnerability of Indigenous people living in cities.
The RCAAQ guides its member Centres in developing new, structuring and innovative initiatives for healing that strengthen the four dimensions of the Indigenous Medicine Wheel and Indigenous people’s holistic health. These programs are in response to the TRC’s Calls to Action.
The range of health and social services offered in member Centres aim to reduce the gaps in social determinants of health while also aiming to offer services in culturally safe spaces free of racism and discrimination.
These actions contribute to fighting poverty and social exclusion, strengthening cultural safety and identity, and promoting health.
LOCAL HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES
The ways local health and social services are provided at the Minowé Clinic in Val-d’Or and at the Acokan Clinic in La Tuque provide greater fluidity in access to services for the Indigenous people in these cities.
Between 2011 and 2016, in justthe Minowé Clinic, 3,200 interventions were provided for 650 Indigenous people. The result in Val-d’Or alone was a lowered rate of reporting and placement of children in foster care by a whopping 40%.
To learn more about local health and social services:
Clinique Minowé, Val-d’Or
View the videos produced as part of a campaign to raise awareness of elder abuse:
YAYENRA : Le droit, le respect et les aînés autochtones
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