First medicinal plant garden (Summers of 2019 and 2020)
In collaboration with Éco-Quartier Peter McGill, and on a plot lent by the Collège de Montréal!
On June 27, 2019, nine people met to start a medicinal garden while getting knowledge, building relations and exchanging teachings. Together they prepared the soil and planted heirloom seeds of the three sisters – which consist of squash, corn and beans. They also planted a patch of sweetgrass, donated by an Abenakis friend from Odanak! As they returned to water and care for this new medicinal garden, they added a few plants of sacred sage. While cultivating this project, all the workers agreed, “true reconciliation is an ongoing process that starts by building good relations”.
The garden was planted again in the summer of 2020 and will be a project that we will proudly continue each summer.
Press release in English
500 Postcards Campaign - April 2019
At the end of March, the 2019 Budget dedicated a whole chapter to improving the lives of Indigenous peoples. Only a very small portion, $60M over 5 years will go to help improve the conditions in urban areas.
So, the advocacy has to continue and you can help!
In order to keep the momentum moving forward we will need to point out the incredible work that the Health committee of the Network has been doing over the past 10 years: needs assessment study, sweat lodge, cultural safety training, piloting the indigenous navigator project, as well as our incorporation into the Indigenous Health Centre of Tiohtià:ke. Not a small feat by any measure.
During the month of April 2019, before the budget is presented again to the House of Commons, simply contact (call, email, tweet, send a postcard or letter) to at least the Finance and Indigenous Services Canada ministries. Maybe they are looking for a concrete case-in-point to name in the budget?!
Here is a sample of the key message that will remind them of our project: *Print postcards on cardstock*
Please consider: First nations, Métis and Inuit in Montreal/Tiohtià:ke should not have to wait any longer to get a full-fledged holistic health centre, staffed with experienced Elders, navigators and personnel in a culturally safe environment.
Give Indigenous people of Tiohtià:ke a self-determination moment, where knowledge transfer/teachings meet health and social services. Recognize the project by considering us for a small part of the 2019 budget (chapter 3, p. 140) for urban settings. Help make the Indigenous Health Centre of Tiohtià:ke a reality!
Note: Mail may be sent postage-free to any Member of Parliament*
Minister of Finances, Honourable
Mr. William E. MORNEAU
Chambre des communes
Finance Minister: Honourable William E. Morneau
New Indigenous Services Canada Minister: Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Crown-Indigenous Relations’ Minister: Honourable Carolyn Bennet
Your support is greatly appreciated. Don’t hesitate to share (let’s aim for 500 postcards).
Click here for more information on our Facebook page
Indigenous Health Navigators Program
August 2018 public communiqué from la Ville de Montréal (available in French only)
After several successful months, the Indigenous Health Centre of Tiohtià:ke has to announce the end of its Indigenous Health Navigation pilot program as of March 31, 2019. Throughout the past 7 months, the Indigenous Health Navigators connected with different Indigenous and non-indigenous organisations in Tiohtià:ke and developed collaborations with the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, Projets Autochtones du Québec, Native Friendship Center of Montreal and Stella to name a few. Those collaborations allowed navigators and community workers to work together and have our mission accomplished through outreach work, strong presence within the urban Indigenous community with referrals and accompaniments to appropriate services. Through this project, the first of its kind in Quebec, our navigators have realized several initiatives and worked on recommendations for the future. As we know, racism and a lack of cultural sensitization are great barriers for Indigenous peoples in accessing health and social services. Having health navigators should be a priority in our effort to better the life of all Indigenous community members in Tiohtià:ke.
Though the project has come to an end, the IHCT is working to continue this essential service and we are hopeful and continue to seek funding opportunities so that a new chapter of the Indigenous Navigators program will begin as the need for such a role has been proven.
Quality Improvement Project
During the Indigenous Health Conference in Toronto in May, 2018, Sean Yaphe attended a Quality Improvement session led by Dr. Jeremy Rezmovitz and Patricia O’Brien from the University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Quality and Innovation Program. The session discussed how to develop a Quality Improvement project within an organization. They also provided times for organizations to meet with them individually to help set up a project. From this meeting, we planned to develop a project with a CLSC that would evaluate exactly Indigenous patients receive care and identify specific barriers to access to care that could be altered. Using this information, a media campaign will also be developed in order to raise awareness about the current situation of health service for Indigenous people in Montreal. Currently, the project is in development between McGill University and the CLSC Metro.
Cultural Safety Project
This pilot project was developed as a partnership between the IHCT Board members Sean Yaphe, Carrie Martin and Pascale Annoual and Dr. Faisca Richer at the Institut National de Santé Publique (INSPQ). The project began in the summer of 2016 when a literature review was conducted detailing programs that were developed elsewhere in Canada and across the globe. Immediately following, a draft of the manual was written. Some financial support was given by the NETWORK to hire an additional resource person to assist with the writing.
In the summer of 2017, we were approached by the CIUSSS Centre-Sud de Montréal to provide cultural safety training to a group of healthcare professionals working with Indigenous people who are precariously housed, including youth on the street, and those with chemical dependencies. The group was divided into 2 and each received 3 sessions of 3 hours each. The 3 sessions covered: the sociocultural and socioeconomic diversity of Indigenous populations in Montreal; described the links between the history of colonization in Canada and the current health status of the Indigenous population; and applied a cultural safety approach by developing reflective practices and learning how to interact with cultural humility and respect. Trainers included Elder Morningstar Orr, Dr. Faisca Richer, Carrie Martin and Sean Yaphe.
Evaluations were conducted following each session and it was found that this pilot cultural safety training program, the first of its kind in the healthcare system in Quebec, was an overall positive experience. Adjustments will be made to the program as we move forward which include shortening its length, encouraging more discussion between participants, bringing together participants from the same profession to share experiences, and understanding the baseline knowledge about Indigenous people and cultural safety in the group.
The project was an oral presentation during the Indigenous Health Conference in Toronto in May, 2018. Additionally, it was accepted for publication in the International Journal of Indigenous Health in their May, 2019 volume.
Late in 2018, the Indigenous Health Centre of Tiohtia:ke has been very fortunate to receive a gift of $20,000 of an Ally member living in Montreal. We have therefore recruited employees Juliette Prié and Kate Legrand to primarily liaison and communicate with our members, assist in completing our application for charitable status, and even write applications to seek other funding. For all inquiries regarding the Health Centre project, contact our Development Agents here
The Indigenous Health Centre of Tiohtià:ke’s Board of Directors is working tirelessly to open an Indigenous holistic health centre in Montreal’s downtown area. In the interim, we are working closely with health services across the City to ensure the needs of Indigenous patients are being met in clinics and hospitals. Recently we were awarded a $2500.00 prize at the Next City Vanguards conference to help establish a Smudging Room at the MUHC Glen Site. Although this is only a temporary solution to a much bigger need for a health centre, it is still an important step towards reconciliation and acknowledgement of our traditional healing practices as legitimate and essential to the spiritual wellbeing of patients. The MUHC cares for many Indigenous patients locally and from far away. In addition to the usual stresses of navigating the healthcare system, Indigenous people face multiple additional challenges including lack of access to traditional healing methods in the mainstream hospital setting. The Smudging Room is one small step to alleviating some of these stressors.