Today is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, an opportunity to reflect on the impact of colonization and its policies on First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples historically and today.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) acknowledges the severe and tragic impact that colonization has had — and continues to have — on generations of Indigenous Peoples. We are actively working across our organization to deepen our understanding of the damage wrought by residential schools, racism, discriminatory medical policies and many other instruments of colonization and oppression.
The medical profession has contributed to this harm. The CMA is committed to walking the path of truth and reconciliation, confronting our shared history, and addressing contemporary instruments of colonization and oppression. A future where Indigenous patients can receive the highest levels of care, in a respectful and safe environment, is what we mean when declaring our commitment to promoting inclusive health care for all.
The CMA continues to learn and take tangible action towards reconciliation, including amplifying Indigenous voices and working in allyship with Indigenous Peoples to affect change.
In September 2022, the CMA convened the Guiding Circle, a group of First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals with broad expertise who are collaborating with and advising the CMA on ways the organization can champion improving the health outcomes of Indigenous Peoples. We are also committed to supporting employees on their personal journey of truth and reconciliation by offering a range of learning and engagement opportunities focused on truth and reconciliation.
In understanding the impacts of colonization, we gain a deeper understanding of Canadian history and our place in it. Together we can a build a more inclusive Canada and more responsive, patient-centred health systems for all. We invite you to make time today and throughout the year to walk the path of truth and reconciliation alongside Indigenous Peoples.
They will lead us where we need to go.
Dr. Alika Lafontaine
President, Canadian Medical Association