QUEEN'S PARK– During a press conference Thursday, Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong), Deputy Leader of the Ontario NDP and Critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, called for immediate action to address the health disparities faced by Indigenous Peoples. Mamakwa later introduced his motion 66, urging the Ford government to recognize Indigeneity and colonialism as Indigenous Determinants of Health.
"For too long, we have been witnessing a disturbing decline in the health of First Nations, said Mamakwa. “The healthcare system isn't broken for Indigenous people; instead, it functions precisely as it was intended - to take away our rights. Historical trauma, colonial policies, food insecurity, and unaffordable housing significantly contribute to Indigenous health challenges. It's unjust to expect anyone to prioritize their long-term health when their daily struggle is putting food on the table or accessing clean drinking water.
The status quo within the healthcare system perpetuates a colonial framework that would not be acceptable anywhere else. Our lives hold value, and the government must recognize these core determinants. Premier Ford must acknowledge that colonialism is not a thing of the past; it persists, impacting lives daily. The only solution for structural violence is structural justice.
It's time for First Nations to be granted the recognition and voice they deserve at the decision-making table. We need care that responds to the needs of our people for better health outcomes. Every life lost or cut short is one too many. The government must take immediate action to pass this motion.”
“Indigenous people are not at an equal starting point for accessing health care in Canada. This is a direct result of colonization and the ensuing structural violence that has resulted from centuries of aggressive disenfranchisement, stereotyping, dehumanizing, and marginalization of Indigenous people. The alarming gap in health outcomes we see today is the direct result of laws and government policies that entrenched Indigenous people as "lesser than". The only solution to this structural violence is structural justice. We must now work to ensure this motion is adopted and begin to work towards a significant shift in policy and resource allocation so we can see gaps close.”
Dr. Suzanne Shoush - Physician and Indigenous Health Faculty Lead at the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine
“The Indigenous Primary Health Care Council supports Motion 66 and commends MPP Sol Mamakwa and the Ontario NDP Party for bringing this forward. The Indigenous Primary Health Care Council has dedicated significant time and resources toward engagements focused on the development of more truthful and accurate Indigenous Social Determinants of Health (ISDOH), which include impacts of colonization and racism, as well as protectant factors such as Traditional Healing, and connection to land, water and culture, among other important determinants.”
Caroline Lidstone-Jones - Chief Executive Office, Indigenous Primary Health Care Council
“The Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority agrees with the Indigenous determinants of health report. The Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority, health status reports, align its findings with this report and have seen the devastating results of poor health outcomes in all the communities we work with. This is a direct result of a health care system that has not responded adequately to the health care needs of the region.”
Janet Gordon - Chief Operating Officer, Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority