Métis Nation of Alberta (MNA) is pleased to announce the release of our three health reports on Cancer, Injuries, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). The reports mark MNA’s continued groundbreaking attempts to gather significant health information specific to Métis citizens of Alberta. “With our three new health reports,” said MNA President Audrey Poitras, “the MNA is continuing towards our goal of developing health promotion and prevention strategies grounded in evidence-based information.” In partnership with the University of Alberta and with financial support from Alberta Health, MNA was able to produce the reports, which President Poitras upholds “is an essential step in our journey to improve the health of Métis people in Alberta.” MNA plans to present the findings at various conferences around the world, including the 10th European Public Health Conference. The reports promise to become an important authority on Métis health; our Cancer report has already been published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health.
The findings of the reports establish that further funding and resources allocated to understanding and combating Métis health challenges are optimized when spent in collaboration with the MNA. These findings are consistent with the mandates of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). In regards to Indigenous health, Article 21 of UNDRIP states that Indigenous peoples have the right to improve their health; Article 23 states that Indigenous peoples have the right to develop their own priorities and strategies for development in the area of health; and Article 24 states that Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional health practices and that they have a right to the highest attainable levels of wellbeing.
MNA Region 6 President and Minister of Health, Children, and Youth, Sylvia Johnson is also pleased by the releases. President and Minister Johnson states, “From these reports, we have gathered a phenomenal amount of information about how our community experience COPD, injuries, and lung cancer. It is clear from the findings of these reports that there is work that needs to be done in our communities to combat these inequalities.”
The release of the health reports come at an exciting time in MNA history. With the recent Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Canada and the strengthened Framework Agreement with the Government of Alberta, MNA is in a strong position to promote key priorities in government-to-government, nation-to-nation negotiations. One of MNA’s top priorities remains addressing Métis-specific health concerns. MNA’s next plan of action to address Métis health is to partner again with Alberta Health to gather information on how Type 2 Diabetes affects Alberta Métis citizens.