The Canadian Nurses Foundation has supported indigenous nursing for the past seven years. We’ve seen the difference these TD Aboriginal Fund award recipients have made to both individuals and their communities, and we’ve seen the difference support and mentorship can make. Even so, we know there’s more to be done. Sadly, the recent tragedies we’ve all heard about in indigenous communities’ nation-wide is one example of how help is so urgently needed. The stories coming out of Attawapiskat have brought attention to the huge disparity in the suicide gap between indigenous people and the rest of the Canadian population, and that is one too many heartbreaking problems indigenous people face.
It’s clear that now is the time for us all to get involved and be a pillar of support for indigenous people in whatever way we can.
“We, as Canadians, all have a responsibility to help erase the inequities that plague our indigenous communities,” says Christine Rieck Buckley, Canadian Nurses Foundation chief executive officer. “CNF, together with partners and stakeholders, will work to help make a difference.”
Indigenous nurses offer a unique perspective to work through the health issues and concerns of indigenous people. An increase of registered indigenous nurses in Canada is integral to improving the health and well-being of communities and increasing economic opportunities for indigenous populations, particularly those in remote areas.
Indigenous nurses play a vital role in the community as they bring a rich knowledge of the language and culture, which is invaluable in working with these communities. However, as we’ve said before, Canada does not have enough indigenous nurses to meet the everyday health care challenges, these communities are facing.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission highlighted the need for a commitment from both the Canadian government and stakeholders to improve the health and education of indigenous people. True success and change depends on full support, recognition and understanding of the problems indigenous people face, and why they face them, from all Canadians.
Our plan to raise $1 million in one year to support indigenous nursing education, research and mentorship is an example of how we, as Canadians, can work together to help be part of the solution, not only financial support for the indigenous nurses, but empowering them to serve as mentors and pillars of hope within their communities.
“Supporting indigenous nurses to succeed and advance their education will prepare them to meet the health care challenges they face every day,” Rieck Buckley says.
That’s why it’s important to get involved, and that’s why we’re asking you to join the journey today.