September 30, 2021
- 3 Minute Read
September 30, 2021 marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation; previously, this day was known as Orange Shirt Day. This day presents an opportunity to reflect on the tragic legacy of the residential school system, to engage in dialogue around what we can do to ensure that we never forget the impact of that system, and to identify how we can advance reconciliation efforts. In our context at Thrive Health, this has to do with the long and ongoing history of injustice and discrimination that Indigenous people experience in the Canadian healthcare system, and how we can play a role in providing better healthcare to Indigenous people.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released a report with 94 Calls to Action, to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance Canadian reconciliation. At Thrive, we are paying particular attention to Calls to Action 18-24 surrounding Health. These seven CTAs call for the federal government to acknowledge the state of healthcare for Indigenous communities, and historical policies that have created discrimination in the Canadian healthcare system. Through increased acceptance of both traditional Indigenous healing practices and of Indigenous professionals working in healthcare, the report maintains that reconciliation within the system means confronting exclusionary Western medical biases and being open to change.
As part of Thrive’s recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we welcomed Cree-Métis lawyer Michelle Casavant, to give a presentation on the history of the residential school system, the forming of the TRC, and the path to this new national holiday. Michelle spoke to our team a few days before September 30th, as a primer for our discussions on the day itself.
For today, September 30th, we are gathering for discussions with Ray Gerow of the Burns Lake Band of the Wet’suet’en nation, and Dr. Judith Sayers of the Hupacasath nation and Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, followed by some breakout sessions to share ideas on how Thrive Health can help address the TRC Health Calls to Action with our products, partnerships, recruitment, and other community activities. To help inform these conversations, our team has reviewed resources such as the 2020 In Plain Sight report regarding discrimination against Indigenous people in BC’s healthcare system, alongside the TRC report. Our goal for these discussions is to identify concrete and actionable next steps that Thrive can begin to take towards reconciliation efforts.
We recognize the privilege that we hold as a tech company living and working on prosperous unceded land here in Vancouver, and our hope is that this day gives our team the chance to learn, reflect, and engage in productive brainstorming around reconciliation in healthcare. We recognize our duty to work towards dismantling the many injustices that have taken place in the Canadian healthcare system toward Indigenous people, and we look forward to the ideas that are brought forth today.
Connect with Thrive Health to explore partnering with us on projects focused on advancing reconciliation efforts in healthcare.