September 30, 2021 will mark Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation “to commemorate the history and ongoing trauma caused by residential schools and to honour those who were lost and the survivors, families and communities who continue to grieve.”
The College of Chiropractors of BC, (the CCBC) along with the BC Health Regulators (BCHR), and its member colleges, acknowledge the atrocities of the residential school system and we share in the sorrow and outrage expressed by First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples, and all Canadians.
We are also accountable to a broader call to action to eliminate anti-Indigenous racism across Canadian society. As regulators of 120,000 health professionals in BC, we have a leadership role in creating more culturally safe experiences and supportive health care environments for Indigenous people.
About Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
The designation of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as an annual statutory day fulfills a recommendation made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which in 2015 issued 94 calls to action as part of its mandate to inform all Canadians about what happened in residential schools.
The September 30 date is also observed as Orange Shirt Day, promoting recognition of the colonial legacy of residential schools and commitment to the ongoing process of reconciliation.
The history of Canada’s residential schools is part of a larger story of colonialism that also saw segregated “Indian Hospitals” operating during the 1930s through to the 1970s and ‘80s, including in British Columbia.
Towards Cultural Safety and Humility in health care
Today, Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in BC health care persists, both through bias shown by individual health care professionals, as well as health system structures and practices that disadvantage Indigenous Peoples.
The CCBC recognizes the harmful impacts of racism directed towards Indigenous Peoples in British Columbia’s healthcare system. As one of the member colleges of the BCHR that joined in the Declaration of Commitment, the CCBC is committed to working with partners on shared initiatives that will support all regulated health professionals in delivering care with a greater focus on cultural safety and humility. As such, we are supportive and continue to look forward to engaging in the following BCHR initiatives:
We recognize that learning more about cultural safety and humility, and using this knowledge to change practice, is an ongoing journey.
In observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, CCBC’s virtual office will be closed on Sept. 30, 2021 (the College has been operating virtually during the pandemic), to take the opportunity to expand upon our path to cultural safety and humility by engaging in cultural safety training along with our member college peers. Beyond this commemorative day, we also have a list of resources and references we can continually lean into to learn about cultural awareness below.
We are grateful for our partnerships with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and other organizations, which are supporting our efforts by sharing resources, providing educational opportunities and offering counsel.
Key learning resources for health care professionals
Cultural safety and humility
- National Indigenous Cultural Safety Learning Series, PHSA Indigenous Health webinar series
- Cultural Safety & Humility Action Series, BC Patient Safety & Quality Council webinar series
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation website (University of Manitoba)
- Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre website (University of British Columbia)
- In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care, 2020 (Full report and Summary report)
- Residential Schools: A Sad Chapter in Canadian History, CBC Curio video collection
- Indigenous Canada, free Coursera course (online) on Indigenous histories/contemporary issues in Canada, delivered by the University of Alberta
- Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls Info-Hub, Kairos Canada
- Safespace, an online platform for Indigenous patients to share positive and negative health care experiences, through the C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres (BCAAFC) in partnership with Safespace Networks.