Respectful engagement at the heart of Indigenous-focused health research

As we celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21, the Can-SOLVE CKD Network is proud to uphold the meaningful engagement of Indigenous peoples in our research and outreach activities.

Within our research projects, we have an Indigenous-specific focus with Indigenous kidney patients and their families working side-by-side with researchers. Our goal is to ensure that any research involving Indigenous peoples is premised on respectful and reciprocal relationships.

Engagement of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals is supported by the Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council (IPERC), which sits at the centre of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network. IPERC endorses community-driven and community-grounded approaches to engagement in research, including Indigenous-grounded approaches to patient engagement.

The council endorses and supports implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action, particularly those that call for closing the gap in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. IPERC aims to address issues related to chronic disease prevalence, recognition of traditional healing practices in collaboration with healers and Elders, support for Indigenous health care providers working in communities, and cultural competency training for all those within our network.

IPERC is also leading the development of a cultural competency training module for all Can-SOLVE CKD Network members. Indigenous members of the network will gather in the fall to further discuss content for this module.

At our gatherings across the country, Can-SOLVE CKD respectfully acknowledges and honours the territory land on which we are gathering. We offer the territorial acknowledgement appropriate for each local region by ensuring that an Elder is present to provide a welcome. Elders are valued for their wisdom, knowledge, and life experiences. At Can-SOLVE CKD meetings, they provide advice, direction, and guidance on Indigenous ways of knowing, doing, and being. Our recent annual meeting in Montreal incorporated a traditional Sharing Circle, led by Elder Amelia McGregor, with the Can-SOLVE CKD patient partners and the network’s co-principal investigators.

Upcoming educational opportunity

We are excited to host a webinar on June 29 highlighting the historical context for Indigenous health in Canada. Dr. Malcolm King, a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation and a professor at Simon Fraser University, will co-present with Dr. Jon McGavock, an associate professor at the University of Manitoba. The webinar is co-presented by Can-SOLVE CKD and Diabetes Action Canada.

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