Whitehorse – Celebrations were held at Whitehorse General Hospital to honour a landmark agreement signed nearly 20 years ago between First Nations, Yukon hospitals and the territorial government that established widely recognized health programs that support, advocate for and work with First Nations people.
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Yukoners from all communities joined the festivities to commemorate the founding agreement that closed the circle and created the First Nations Health Programs.
A special ceremony honoured the signing of the agreement and its continuing legacy. Several special guest speakers were on hand, including Ruth Massie, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations. There was also be a moment of remembrance for several individuals who, over the past two decades, have been instrumental in ensuring First Nations continue to have access to the health services and support they need.
The agreement that created the program is just as significant today and for future generations as when it was signed 20 years ago, notes Laura Salmon, Director of First Nations Health Programs.
“We are fortunate in the Yukon where promoting and providing quality culturally sensitive holistic healthcare to First Nations has become an important part of health care services,” she says. “We have an opportunity to not only provide patient support throughout the hospital, but also work to increase understanding of Aboriginal culture and provide Aboriginal Peoples with social and spiritual support, which is so essential to health and well-being.”
Known for its culturally based services that respond to community identified needs, the FNHP within Yukon’s hospitals has been highlighted in a report by the Health Council of Canada and named as a leading practice by Accreditation Canada. The program provides a number of services including advocacy, patient support and health planning as well as social and spiritual support. This includes access to traditional food, medicine and healing practices within the hospital environment.
Director, First Nations Health Programs
Yukon Hospital Corporation
Communications, Yukon Hospitals