Kloshe Nanitch Bundles

Working together to promote Indigenous health.

Turtle Island, or what we now call Canada, has a tragic legacy of colonization with ongoing impacts on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Peoples. Over the last few years, the findings of the unmarked graves of children across the country have begun to shine much-needed light on this dark history of residential schools — settings of abuse and intentional assimilation, where thousands died from malnourishment or disease. We may never know the true numbers or immense scope of this tragedy.

This historical and ongoing colonization, control, and oppression of Indigenous Peoples has created a pervasive lack of trust in government and related institutions, including public health. It has created ongoing health and socioeconomic disparities, poorer health outcomes, and extensive inequities. Re-building trust and addressing inequities will take hard work and collaboration with Indigenous communities, with a focus on thoughtful public health initiatives rooted in respect, humility, safety, and ongoing dialogue and learning.

Grounding our work in why it matters.

In 2007, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began work that culminated in 94 calls to action, and that same year the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted. BC was the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA), in 2019. These grounding documents are pivotal in our work today, as we have a responsibility to uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples in all that we do. Our work towards Truth and Reconciliation begins with always remembering why these harms persist because it is only through respectful learning, dialogue, and fostering relations that we may begin to reconcile how Indigenous people have lived and lost.

These are some of the shared goals of the Foundation and one of our partners, Chee Mamuk — the self-determining Indigenous-led program within the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). Chee Mamuk engages in a constant cycle of deep listening and reflection and grounding their work in what people are telling them. And this is why we are partnering with them, to advance critical work within communities that addresses harms and inequities, promotes health and well-being, and builds relations, cooperation, and a new way of thinking that puts the emphasis on striving for well-being. This thoughtful work addresses the social determinants of health, advances equity, and underpins a healthier future, which takes into consideration the interplay of the lands, water, air, and all living creatures together.

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    Building trust and relationships with Indigenous communities

    Sharing a message of love is a starting point because that basic human need is powerful and curative.  

    Chee Mamuk builds trust and relationships with Indigenous communities through the gifting of Kloshe Nanitch bundles. Kloshe Nanitch means “take care” in Chinook Jargon, used as a trade language between First Nations, Metis, Inuit, and early settlers and traders. Because gifting is such an important way to show respect in many Indigenous cultures, these bundles build trust and reciprocity, demonstrating care and love as people connect in relationships and in understanding.

    Originally co-designed with communities, these bundles support a full spectrum of Indigenous peoples’ lived experience, and contents continue to evolve to reflect current needs of those in their communities across the province. The bundles meet practical needs by providing tools and resources that support people who are dealing with challenging realities like food security or substance use, and spiritual needs such as healing herbs and traditional medicines, as well as messages of kindness, hope, and resilience. They are about nurturing people’s mind, body, and soul. They are about creating a space to begin to heal. This is a quiet and respectful way of introducing resources that assist populations with health needs and well-being while recognizing that public health interventions must support people’s capacity for healing. This work has been so positively received that it has led to requests for bundles for more communities across the province.

    Now we have the opportunity to build on that success and reach more people, and we want to support the journey to help heal, mend, learn, and grow — together.

    The Foundation is currently raising funds to support Chee Mamuk with the creation and distribution of Kloshe Nanitch bundles. Funds will enable the team to build and distribute bundles where and when they are needed most, particularly in remote and hard to reach regions.

    Your support can have a lasting impact that touches people’s lives and shares a message that is about so much more than a bundle of goods. You will be demonstrating that you are part of a dialogue that is focused on re-building trust, addressing inequities and the social determinants of health, and investing in Indigenous-led health initiatives that are driven by community with an inter-connected alignment with health and wellness across our lands, water, air, and all living beings.

    This project is a thoughtful example of how we can all forge new ways of working collaboratively to eradicate the harms of colonialism and structural racism. How we can build new, and better, ways of improving and supporting population health. Donor support is critical to making that aim a reality.

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