A Canadian Indigenous group will continue to have unprecedented control over their healthcare after renewing a deal with the country’s government.

The Canadian government will be providing $8.2 billion CAD in funding over 10 years for the First Nation’s Health Authority in British Columbia giving Indigenous communities in the province more control over how to use the funds.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement speaking to the Squamish Nation last Friday and said funding will help ensure the best possible outcome for First Nations health.

“More community based approaches to health care, recognition of the intergenerational trauma that impacts wellbeing in your community, innovative mental health and wellness care work to continue to address those social detriments of health.

And ensuring as First Nations you can have access to culturally safe care on your land and in your language.

As part of all this we will keep working to strengthen our tripartite agreements so that First Nations get quality healthcare no matter what healthcare system they use,” Trudeau said.

He said the first of its kind model in Canada has been immensely successful in providing healthcare to over 200 communities.

The announcement’s been described as a game changer by First Nations Health Council deputy chairperson Wayne Christian.

Christian says, the impact of colonialism has had a profound impact on Canadian Indigenous people and that Friday’s announcement won’t magically fix those issues but self determination “has to start somewhere.”

Credit: Ruth Hartnup