Ottawa, Ontario (May 9, 2022) – The Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu; the Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations, Marc Miller; and the Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal, issued the following statement today:
“Indigenous nurses are the bridge between traditional healing and Western medicine, establishing and applying a holistic approach to their healthcare delivery.
Today, at the start of National Nursing Week, we celebrate Indigenous Nurses Day by recognizing the irreplaceable role of First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses, who provide culturally inclusive healthcare in their communities and across the country. Indigenous nurses have also continuously demonstrated their phenomenal commitment and exceptional efforts to maintaining the health and well-being of all Canadians, in both urban and remote areas.
The theme for National Nursing Week is once again #WeAnswertheCall, which provides yet another opportunity to showcase the ways in which nurses respond to sometimes dire and drastic situations with both professionalism and compassion. And for many Indigenous nurses, answering the call reaches far beyond health service delivery: they are advocating for Indigenous voices to be heard and considered in the healthcare system. We especially want to highlight their exceptional work over the past two years. Nurses have played a pivotal role in Canada’s COVID-19 response, and we thank them for their ongoing service to communities.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action state the need for “an increase in the number of Aboriginal professionals working in the healthcare field.” Although efforts have been made to assure a higher presence of Indigenous healthcare professionals, greater progress toward improved representation is key in the years ahead.
To achieve better health outcomes, self-determination and freedom of choice in Indigenous health journeys are vital. First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses are often uniquely positioned to both understand and campaign for community-led, culturally appropriate healthcare services and delivery while incorporating traditional practices. We recognize and support Indigenous nurses’ tireless work to provide accessible, culturally relevant healthcare.
With many Indigenous nurses having distinct connections to their community’s Elders and healers, their nursing practices pass on the blend of traditional knowledge and medical expertise to the next generation. Their roots in communities and culture are invaluable as we work to build stronger, healthier relationships between Indigenous Peoples and the healthcare systems.
For your exceptional skills, your longstanding dedication, and your unwavering ability to care for each and every one of us, we thank you. We are grateful, we are appreciative for all that Indigenous nurses have accomplished throughout Canada.”