Learning objectives for the presentation:
1) Respecting the rights of Indigenous children requires a paradigm shift.
2) Reflecting on the paradigm shift will determine what is the critical path.
First Nations people who experience unresolved endemic and intergenerational trauma are five times more at risk for problematic substance use than those with a connection to culture and have meaningful relationships (Thunderbird 2022). However, access and availability of culturally safe mental wellness services for First Nations are rarely available where First Nations people live. It is imperative to address systemic racism to develop understanding and strategies related to the issues affecting First Nations if “we” are going to transform a system that does not currently honour the inherent right of First Nations mental wellness.
The First Nations Mental Wellness Continuum Framework promotes a strength-based approach. This approach must be grounded in culture, language, and Indigenous knowledge. A core Indigenous value is the belief in strengths over weaknesses and assets over deficits. The evidence base for this world view is held within the stories of origin, the Creation stories of Indigenous people. While stories of origin or Creation stories differ across Indigenous nations, it is understood that all creation stories are true. There are also many common threads that transcend differences, such as, the “inherent” gifts given to Indigenous peoples by the Great Spirit, commonly known as "kindness, caring, honesty and strength." What is required to shift towards a focus on the rights of Indigenous people to mental wellness by investing in kindness, caring, honesty, and strength versus a colonial system focused on deficits?