FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 31, 2022
The Northern First Nations Alliance (NFNA) is an alliance of Indigenous Nations that have come together to focus on the unique challenges and opportunities faced by Indigenous peoples in Northwest British Columbia. The NFNA has representation from four Nations (Gitxsan, Haisla, Nisga’a, and Tsimshian) representing nine Indigenous communities (Gingolx, Gitanyow, Gitlaxtaamiks, Gitxa, ish and Laxgalts’ap).
The Health & Wellness pillar is led by NFNA’s Health & Wellness Sub-Committee launched through initial meeting in Haisla on March 6 2020. Former Elected Councillor Lynn Parker (Kitselas) and Elected Councillor Brenna Innes cofounded the Health & Wellness Sub-Committee. The Health & Wellness Sub-Committee comprises of Deputy Chief Councillor Arthur Renwick (Haisla), Elected Councillor Brenna Innes (Gitxaala), Janice Angus, Deputy Director, Programs and Services, Nisga’a Lisims Government, Linda Morven, Chief Executive Officer, Nisga’ a Village of Gitwinksihlkw, Charlene Webb, Health Director of Kitsumkalum, Geri Inkster, Director of Health Kitselas First Nation and Elected Councillor, Alex Grant Jr. (Haisla). We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Jeannie Parnell and Teena Grant to the committee.
In August 2020, the member Nations of the NFNA signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Terrace, BC, to facilitate the development of a culturally appropriate, safe, and holistic Health & Wellness/Detox Centre in Northwest, BCD The Centre is intended to fill several of the identified gaps with respect to health & wellness, detox, and treatment services within the region and the province. The main target groups will be inclusive of Indigenous youth, women, men, and Elders, as well as the Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ community and Indigenous families.
We are pleased to announce through the trusted support of our leadership and with the financial support of the First Nations Health Authority, the project’s initial development activities are currently underway. The NFNA Health & Wellness team is happy to announce it has secured the services of Manon Joice, who has undertaken the role of completing the required community asset mapping exercise and the task of preparing the Health & Wellness/Detox Centre feasibility study in consultation with NFNA communities. Manon is experienced in sustainable community development, population health, and preventative medicine.
Before moving to Northwest BC, Manon resided in the Peace Region, where she wrote the initial business case study for much-needed medical clinic that serves five communities. She further served as the BC Northeast Cancer Prevention Coordinator for the BC Cancer Agency, where among other activities, she organized mammogram screening for isolated Indigenous communities and collaborated in the northern cancer control strategy. In her other role for the Northeast Aboriginal Business Center in Fort St John, BC she was pleased to assist Indigenous entrepreneurs and communities in developing their business plans, lending to their financial independence and overall well-being.
The completion date for the community asset mapping exercise and facility feasibility study is scheduled for October 2022. They will support the NFNA’s work toward securing funding and making the vision a reality for the much-needed Health & Wellness/Detox Centre in northern BC.