As the future is plotted to address the growing health issues for First Nations people in the Sioux Lookout area, participants at a recent two-day Public Health Conference hosted by Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority looked to the past for guidance and wisdom.
“Back to Moss” was a common theme during discussions at the conference. Essentially, participants talked about returning to the healthy and safe traditions originally practiced by the Anishinabe in the Sioux Lookout area. Not too long ago, moss was commonly used for a variety of purposes, particularly on babies as a diaper.
Held in Lac Seul First Nation Feb. 19-20, the gathering brought together 28 health directors and health workers to obtain information, ideas, and wisdom for a public health model for the region.
Currently, there is no public health system in place for the 31 First Nations in the Sioux Lookout area. As a result SLFNHA has been authorized by Chiefs at the 2010 Annual General Meeting to develop a culturally relevant regional public health system as envisioned in the Anishinabe Health Plan.
That process is in full swing at SLFNHA as staff with the Public Health Project begin the lengthy process to develop the model.
And it comes with some advice from speakers at the conference who shared information about public health.
It is not feasible for a community to have a comprehensive public health system. They can have elements, but a regional system would have to come under an organization like SLFNHA.
Since public health is very broad, it is up to communities to define what public health means to them and identify priorities.
It’s hard to do it alone so partnerships are important since resources are limited.
For more information about the project, please visit our Public Health page.