June 25th, 2024

AHS opens National Indigenous Month

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on June 2, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Alberta Heath Services kicked off National Indigenous Month Thursday with virtual opening ceremonies.

Among the speakers was co-host Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, senior medical director of the Indigenous Wellness Core and Mauro Chies, CEO of AHS.

One focus of the ceremony was ensuring that Indigenous people get culturally safe service whenever and wherever they require health services.

“In the last six months for example, the Indigenous Wellness Core has been educating sites across the province on providing equitable access to Indigenous spiritual ceremonies. We’ve always supported on-site Indigenous ceremony but we learned this hasn’t been offered to all patients and families consistently. So with the help of multidisciplinary working group, the Indigenous Wellness Core, we’ve developed a policy that’s going to ensure Indigenous patients have consistency access to ceremony no matter what site they’re receiving treatment in,” said Chies.

“This policy is going to take effect, I’m happy to say, on June 21 on National Indigenous Peoples Day so sites have been working very very hard to implement it before then,” said Chies, who thanked those who worked on the development of the policy so quickly and the sites for supporting its implementation.

“Accommodating cultural adhering is one of the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action and this policy brings us to another step closer to achieving this,” added Chies.

The CEO said more will be heard about this and other program improvements taking place throughout AHS in June in virtual sessions that have been set up.

People will also learn how AHS is supporting the LGBTQ Two Spirit community and the expansion of the highly successful Indigenous support line. There will be sessions planned for addictions, treatment and recovery, improving virtual support, the Honoring Life program geared to suicide prevention in Indigenous youth, he said.

Every Monday in June at 9 a.m. an Elder will be teaching, he said.

This coming Monday a virtual event will focus on a day in the life of Indigenous Liaisons working in acute care. This runs from noon until 1 p.m.

On Tuesday the noon session will be on Neurodiversity: Autism while a session on Thursday, June 8 at noon will focus on perspectives on addictions and recovery for Indigenous people.

Other upcoming online sessions include:

Monday, June 12

• Elder Teaching (9 a.m.)

Honouring Life Presentation (120 p.m. to 1 p.m.)

• Wednesday, June 14

Physicians Discussion Panel (12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)

• Thursday, June 15

Allyship Discussion Panel (12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)

• Monday, June 19

Elder Teaching (9 a.m.)

• Tuesday, June 20

Traditional Perspectives and Teachings of Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Peoples (12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)

• Wednesdy, June 21


Patient Access to Indigenous Spiritual Ceremony Policy (12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)

• Thursday, June 22

The Life of a Two-Spirit Drag Queen (12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)

• Friday, June 23

Walking Together to Strengthen Indigenous Cancer Care in Alberta Action Plan (12p.m. to 1 p.m.)

• Monday, June 26

Virtual Care supports in Alberta: Improving health connections with Indigenous People (12 p.m. to 1 p.m.)

Closing ceremonies are slated for June 29 at noon

Online programs can be accessed at https://together4health.albertahealthservices.ca/2023nipm

“Indigenous health services are delivered throughout the province in partnership with Indigenous peoples, communities and organizations with the goal of providing high-quality, culturally-safe, accessible healthcare.

“By learning about and inspiring each other, we can enhance an inclusive healthcare system that is welcoming and respectful of all cultures, traditions and beliefs. Together, let’s continue to build on our commitment to nurture and grow relations between AHS and Indigenous peoples,” says AHS

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