“There is nothing that can be done from another place or by another race that cannot be done better by our own people.” This was the message that Grand Chief Doug Kelly offered at the January 2014 Mi’kmaq Maliseet Atlantic Health Board (MMAHB) in Moncton New Brunswick. Grand Chief Doug Kelly is a Tribal Chief of Sto:lo Tribal Council and Chair of the First Nations Health Council he resides on the Soowahlie Indian Reserve near Cultus Lake BC. Grand Chief Kelly was invited to join the group to give an overview of the British Columbia Tripartite process and the devolution of Health Canada (FNIHB) programs to First Nations control, governance, and administration in that province.

This idea causes some apprehension in this region and feeds the belief that a process similar to BC’s cannot be undertaken in the Atlantic region. The reality is the process would be very complex due to this regions uniqueness because FNIHB Atlantic is responsible for managing the health of First Nations and Inuit people in four provinces, there are four provincial governments with varying levels of relationships with their First Nations communities, and diverse First Nations populations and cultures across the region. The question of how to access federal transfer dollars for health is a complicated one but one that needs to be explored as it was in BC. We’ve been told this would be so incredibly complicated because the province doesn’t ‘figure out funding per person’ and so wo ...

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