Collaborative Approaches to Reconciliation in Environmental Health Practice
J. Ivor Norlin
Interior Health Authority
First Nations Health Authority
In November, 2019 B.C. enacted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, establishing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as the province’s framework for reconciliation. In B.C., the Interior Health Authority (IH) and First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) have distinct responsibilities for protecting public health: one as a regional health authority operating on provincial lands, and one as an Indigenous-led health authority supporting First Nations communities.
With the potential for gaps from these separate service delivery approaches and mandates, and the need to recognize Indigenous rights and title on unceded lands, including and especially the Tŝilhqot’in Nation’s Declared Title Area, IH and FNHA undertook an engagement process with First Nations representatives and public health professionals from both organizations to develop an approach to identifying and addressing environmental health issues or gaps within areas of joint responsibility.
This presentation will explore the engagement model used to ensure Indigenous perspectives were centred through a community-driven, Nation-based approach, and the resulting co-management approach for ensuring First Nations have reduced barriers to equitable environmental public health service delivery that recognizes their inherent rights across both reserve lands and traditional territories. Using the lens of UNDRIP, this presentation will provide examples on how environmental health professionals can support reconciliation through the application of their practice.