Spirit of reconciliation inspires respectful partnerships

As we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on June 21, the Can-SOLVE CKD Network is proud to work with Indigenous patients, researchers, caregivers, and Elders to ensure our research program is informed by and responsive to Indigenous perspectives.

In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, we are committed to fostering an understanding of the histories and cultures of Indigenous peoples as a foundation for respectful partnerships. Over the past year, we have undertaken many activities that have supported researchers and patient partners to become more aware of racial biases, Indigenous voices and stories, the impact of colonization on Indigenous health, and culturally safe health research practices.

Learning

  • We are developing a training platform, Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj, that will educate researchers and health care providers to work collaboratively and respectfully with Indigenous partners
  • In partnership with Diabetes Action Canada, we co-presented a webinar on the history of Indigenous health in Canada
  • Can-SOLVE CKD Operations Team members are completing cultural safety training, including San’yas and OCAP
  • At the 2018 Can-SOLVE CKD Annual Meeting, all attendees took part in the KAIROS Blanket Exercise to learn more about Canada’s colonial history and its impact on Indigenous peoples

Research

Through the wisdom and guidance of the Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council (IPERC) we are learning to incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing into health research. With this knowledge, our three Indigenous-focused projects have developed culturally appropriate research protocols that promote better kidney health for Indigenous communities and individuals.

Ceremony

IPERC has guided the network on incorporating ceremony in our activities, as appropriate. For example, our meetings are opened with a statement recognizing the traditional territory on which the meeting is being hosted. Territorial acknowledgement is also included on our website, in our email signatures, and in all presentations. Other activities include:

  • ensuring an Elder is present to provide a welcome and provide advice, teachings, and guidance during meetings as needed
  • sharing circles
  • blanket ceremonies
  • smudging
  • offering of tobacco
  • opening/closing prayers

We also endeavour to support the commercial aspirations of Indigenous people by sourcing their services when and where possible. This year we have worked with Indigenous caterers for meal services at events, purchased local Indigenous gifts for meeting participants, and hosted gatherings at Indigenous venues, including the Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Society and the University of British Columbia Longhouse.

Over the coming year, we look forward to continuing development of the Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj learning pathway, advancing the work of our Indigenous research projects, and ensuring that all we do is aligned with and supportive of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action related to health.