Joint Collaborative Committees

Showing up in a good way – the Journey to Truth and Reconciliation

Dr Kelsey Louie is Coast Salish from the Tla’amin First Nation and the first First Nations Doctors of BC board member. He is a family physician and Acting Deputy Chief Medical Officer for the First Nations Health Authority.

National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day is a time to recognize First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples’ resiliency, contributions, and spirit across Turtle Island, whose lands we live, work and play on with gratitude.

For me, it is a time of reflection, celebration, and opportunity to come together to honour our history and present-day culture, language, and teachings. I am deeply grateful to those who have paved the way for preserving Indigenous culture, ensuring our visibility and presence on our lands and territories, and to all who have advocated for Indigenous rights.

Acknowledging the impact of broken trust and the ongoing effects of Canada’s past injustices is an essential step in our journey to truth. National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day provide an opportunity for all of us to honour ourselves and acknowledge this history and work towards understanding and healing.

Truth and Reconciliation is a collective responsibility that each of us must embrace. While we are all at different stages of our own learning journeys and readiness for further learning, it is crucial to remain curious and approach this humbly. Each of us plays a vital role in this process through education, empathy, and action.

The board and leadership of Doctors of BC are committed to advancing cultural safety in medicine. It is an honour to be the first First Nation board member, and I believe positive progress is being made to ensure diverse representation of all voices at the table. This perspective is crucial in fostering a more inclusive and equitable health care environment that reflects both the profession and the communities we aim to serve.

The true value of advancing cultural safety in medicine lies in collaborating with Indigenous communities and health care partners to develop a system wide application, as committed to in our strategic plan. This effort calls for Indigenous thought leadership at all levels within our organization. By embracing this approach, we ensure that Indigenous perspectives are respected and woven into the fabric of the health care system, resulting in more culturally safe and humble care.

With the establishment of the Indigenous Specific Anti-Racism (ISAR) team, the inclusion of ISAR in the Physician Master Agreement, and the Doctors of BC’s strategic plan we are dedicated to creating space, time, and resources for this work.

Doctors are demonstrating commitment to learning how to provide culturally safe care, by showing enthusiasm for participating in the training we offer. Programs like compassionate leadership training and the First Nations Experiential Learning Sessions are seeing great interest. It’s encouraging to witness this positive progress.

I urge all physicians to actively participate in your local National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations. Your participation is a powerful step toward fostering cultural understanding and respect in our health care system, and to further build lasting relationships and stand alongside Indigenous Peoples.