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Siksika Nation and CPSA Sign Historic Memorandum of Understanding

Indigenous Health, Media Release, Partners | Posted September 20, 2023

At this historic point in time, there is a mutual recognition of the autonomy and self-government of Siksika Nation (“Siksika”) and CPSA’s regulatory authority over physicians and physician assistants practicing in Siksika, and the adoption of measures to address systemic racism in health care.

Board Chair, Siksika Health Services: Ike Solway
Chair, CPSA Council: Stacey Strilchuk

Edmonton, AB – Racism and discrimination, especially Indigenous-specific racism, are serious issues in Alberta’s healthcare system. All organizations must take an active role in addressing it.

Working together since 2021, Siksika Nation and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) recognize that physicians and physician assistants are influential leaders in health care and therefore the two Parties have committed to acting against racism and discrimination.

To support this mutual commitment, Siksika and CPSA have signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), today at the Siksika Health & Wellness Centre.

The Parties will support reconciliation through the MOU, working towards substantive and authentic connections and relationships that facilitate quality health care for Indigenous peoples. The well-being of Indigenous peoples will be supported through mutual respect and equal standing in a partnership. The MOU outlines the commitment to incorporating Indigenous knowledge, perspective and elements of Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action into the framework CPSA uses to regulate its members.

This MOU is based upon the recognition of Siksika jurisdiction and inherent right to self-determination under the Constitution of Canada, as affirmed in the Preamble to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP). Through this self-determination, Siksika Health Services recognizes and endorses CPSA’s regulatory authority over physicians and physician assistants practising in their community and CPSA’s authority in the accreditation of medical facilities.

“This MOU is a testament to our dedication to working together towards addressing racism and discrimination that Indigenous people face when accessing healthcare,” says councillor Ike Solway, board chair of SHS. “We believe that by combining our efforts, we can achieve greater impact and make a positive difference in all Albertans’ care. We look forward to the journey ahead and the positive outcomes that will result from our partnership.”

“CPSA recognizes that we’ve played a role in past harms and trauma to Indigenous peoples and communities in Alberta,” says Stacey Strilchuk, CPSA Council Chair. “This MOU is more than a partnership and shared objectives. It’s an expression of mutual respect, a recognition of the autonomy of Indigenous peoples and a willingness to work together to ensure Indigenous peoples receive safe, equitable health care. I want to personally thank Siksika Nation and Siksika Health Services for taking this step with us and I hope it signals our desire to earn and build authentic and meaningful relationships with other First Nations and Indigenous communities.”

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