Meeting minutes for May 17

2007-05-17 14:00
2007-05-17 15:30

Meeting Minutes

2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 17, 2007

FNUC Executive Boardroom

1.      The agenda was approved.   2.      Chair’s remarks and introductions: This meeting was intended as a “visioning” meeting for the group. Those present were Carrie Bourassa (Assistant Professor, Science, FNUC), Peter Brundin (MA in SD, Lab Manager in Kinesiology and Health Studies, Tanya Dahms (Associate Professor, Science, UofR), Glenn Hymers (CSLP member, Craik) Backgrounds: Glenn Hymers has been involved in the Craik sustainable living project (CSLP) and is now involved in a health initiative that involves the Craik doctor’s office and the Five hills health region, which includes Moss Jaw. The group was interested in a primary, preventative health care initiative that would combat diabetes and coronary heart disease. They decided that it would be best to develop activities to get more people active and settled on the walking program. They believe that “a sustainable community is a healthy community”. Craik now has a walking club that not only promotes health, but also brings together people from different walks of life and backgrounds. This creates a social network that would not have developed under other circumstances. Carrie Bourassa commented that this type of strategy would not work on reserve since the infrastructure associated with reserves would make it highly dangerous i.e. walking on a highway. Carrie also pointed out that the First Nation health model or “medicine wheel philosophy” is quite different from the European model, where physical illness is considered the manifestation of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual imbalance/lack of harmony. While there is some resemblance of this model to the “Population Health Model” there are clear differences, and the ideals are more in line with holistic healing approaches. She also pointed out that communities need to be empowered to take responsibility for themselves, and to maximize their assets given their confinements and restrictions. These ideas are directly in line with the UNU RCEphilosophy. Carrie is currently working on research projects for urban native people, for instance, older people who live alone in subsidized apartments and are on social assistance. Carrie believes that there should be an emphasis on cultural activities to promote health, something to which we all agreed. Carrie suggested that there is a core group of First Nation Elders who are interested in bringing people together, where a First Nation would be in partnership with non-Aboriginal communities. She noted that the Elders are very inclusive and believe that all people are connected to the creator. We briefly discussed the idea of partnering Craik with a First Nation. Carrie also discussed the project at FNUC headed up by Biologist Fiji Gendron who received a donation from SaskPower. Currently Malin Hansen, Fiji and volunteers (including some of us in the group) are planting the garden. The garden, all made up of native plants, is in the shape of a medicine wheel and is intended to engage and educate the community to the importance of native plants that sustain the prairie and serve as medicine. Peter Brundin has a background in Geography, in which he completed an MA on sustainability and the environment. He currently works in an anxiety research lab. Peter thinks that sustainability should be about redistributing power from those who have it to those who do not. Tanya Dahms is refocusing her research towards detecting the affect of environmental toxins at the cellular level, teaches sustainability as much as possible in her Biochemistry and Biophysics classes, is an anti-pesticide/anti-nuclear/anti-mining activist and has been involved in creating the RCE since the beginning. Her sustainability interests are largely action based. 3.      Defining the role of the working committee: I suggested that we could rotate chairing the committee. Since the first meeting, Tanya has recruited a secretary for the group, Breanne Cuddington, who is an undergraduate student interested in learning more about sustainable health initiatives.   4.      Current initiatives and strengthening ongoing initiatives: See point 2.   5.      Health-related goals for this upcoming year: We decided that we should try to hire honours research and/or summer students to first catalogue what sustainable health initiatives are already happening in Saskatchewan. Peter suggested that we should try to cast the net very wide at first and then refine the data later. Glenn thought that we should attempt to first categorize the services available. Carrie suggested that she may get funding such a project with a student. Carrie also brought up the urban grandmother project in which she is involved. These grandmothers are raising their grand children, providing immense gratification and love, but also stress. Often these grandmothers are not aware of available services and so Carrie and her group are trying to catalogue the available services and transportation to access them. We decided to hold another meeting in August if there were funds available for a student. I made it clear that the group was not intended to make more work for us, but rather to facilitate ongoing research, create connectivity, provide a forum for communication and strengthen current and future sustainable health initiatives.   6.      Other business – since the meeting, Gerald Marchildon has agreed to be our northern representative for the group.   7.      Adjournment    


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