Crisis in A Southern Inuit Community Tops Agenda in Meeting with NL Minister of Health
HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, LABRADOR, June 16, 2016 – NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) President Todd Russell today issued the following statement:
“Yesterday, I met with Dr. John Haggie, provincial Minister of Health and Community Services, and his officials to discuss health care issues in our territory and the current crisis situation in Black Tickle. I was joined by other representatives from NCC, one of whom is from Black Tickle.
“Much background was provided on our communities and specifically Black Tickle. We explained the community’s strong ties to the land and traditional way of life. We explained that residents have seen a steady erosion of many supports and services over the past number of years, which is nothing more than forced relocation of an Indigenous community. We offered the view that we should instead be discussing sustainability and reconciliation. The loss of a full-time nurse and other health care cuts announced as a result of the provincial budget exasperates an already desperate situation. As I have stated previously, it is an infringement on their basic human right of having timely and appropriate access to health care. This is unacceptable.
“We spoke further about the provincial budget and the devastating impacts on the southern Inuit of NunatuKavut. We know that it is directly related to the escalating cost of the Muskrat Falls project, which has violated the rights of Indigenous peoples in Labrador and continues to threaten our food security and way of life. We are already paying a very high and dangerous price for Muskrat Falls and to bring even more suffering to our people as a result is deplorable.
“Also raised was the lack of engagement with NCC on health issues connected to our people and communities. It was made clear that we found it ironic that provincial health representatives recently invited us to participate in consultations on Medical Assistance in Dying legislation when we haven’t been given an opportunity to provide input on a major health care decision that preserves life in our communities.
“I believe we provided Dr. Haggie a new perspective on our communities and the dire situation in Black Tickle. We discussed ways to improve consultation with NCC as it relates to health care. There was also a commitment to quickly facilitate a meeting between NCC and LG Health officials to discuss circumstances surrounding the health care decisions impacting Black Tickle. We will continue to fight hard for this community and advocate on behalf our people.”
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Director of Communications,