The Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council (IPERC) guides Can-SOLVE CKD’s activities to account for the unique aspects of patient-oriented research involving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.
“We work with the network to develop resources (which help to) support culturally competent engagement with Indigenous peoples and communities,” says IPERC Coordinator Craig Settee.
As one of two governing bodies within the Can-SOLVE CKD Network, its members are involved in numerous aspects of the network. Indigenous representation from IPERC can be felt throughout the network, including the Can-SOLVE CKD Executive Committee, which recently welcomed two new Indigenous members, Dr. Malcolm King and Mary Beaucage.
IPERC members come from Indigenous territories and nations from all over Canada including Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, Inuvialuit, Anishinaabe, Cree and Métis.
Panikpak (Letitia) Pokiak, who is Inuvaluit from Tuktuuyaqtuuq, a small town on the Arctic Ocean in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, notes the importance of sharing distinct Inuit experiences.
“Creating space for Métis, First Nations or Inuit voices and experiences changes the narrative of our collective colonial history and the impacts felt by Indigenous communities,” says Letitia.
Métis representation is similarly important, says IPERC co-chair and patient partner Arlene Desjarlais.
“I can freely say that I’m living as a Métis person who is learning about herself and her culture and the world around her,” says Desjarlais. “And that specifically is what Can-SOLVE CKD has brought into my life, specifically IPERC.”
IPERC’s work supports several of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action related to health, including #18 (acknowledging the impact of historical traumas on Indigenous health), #19 (working to close the gaps in health outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities), and #23 (developing cultural safety training for research team members).
Settee notes that these mandates are important to implement and uphold. “Cultural safety within our Canadian health care network is important to acknowledge because systemic racism is a very real and present issue for Indigenous peoples,” he says.
One of IPERC’s key initiatives is Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj (wah-bish-kih biish-ih-goo skaa-nch), a learning pathway that aims to enhance researchers’ knowledge and awareness of racial biases, Indigenous voices and stories, the impact of colonization on Indigenous health, and culturally safe health research practices.
IPERC engages and amplifies Indigenous peoples and works to bring unique perspectives and voices to the Can-SOLVE CKD Network.
“Committees such as IPERC provide opportunities to build the capacity of kidney research that involves the health of our Indigenous Peoples,” says Letitia. “This committee (IPERC) is a great framework to model, as it mobilizes Indigenous voices and approaches to research.”
IPERC is currently seeking members to join the council and share voices and experiences as patient partners (Indigenous CKD patients, kidney donors, caregivers). To learn more about this engagement opportunity, or for more information in general, please contact IPERC Coordinator Craig Settee at firstname.lastname@example.org
IPERC recently hosted a webinar titled “All My Relations: IPERC and Learning Pathway Information Sharing” on June 17. Attendees learned about the Indigenous Peoples’ Engagement and Research Council (IPERC) and explored an overview of the Wabishki Bizhiko Skaanj Learning Pathway. Watch the recording below!