Transforming Our Realities

A unique knowledge sharing and networking forum

On December 2-3, 2015, the National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) hosted a unique knowledge sharing and networking forum in Ottawa, Ontario, with over 100 representatives from federal, provincial/territorial, and Indigenous governments; academic and research institutions; Indigenous and non-Indigenous health organizations; and national and provincial Indigenous organizations. The goals of the forum were to:

  • review current evidence related to the determinants of Indigenous peoples’ health;
  • explore the application of a determinants of health approach at the system, structural and community levels; and
  • identify and discuss strategies for promoting and enabling a determinants of health approach to health and wellness.


The forum was also an opportunity for the NCCIH to present on, and disseminate information from, its recently published book, Determinants of Indigenous peoples’ health in Canada: Beyond the social.

Transforming Our Realities: The determinants of health and Indigenous Peoples is the third in a series of forums on the social determinants of Indigenous peoples’ health. The first national forum, Circles of health: Sharing our gifts was held in Ottawa in 2008 and aimed to facilitate dialogue about diverse Indigenous social determinants of health; and identify key strategies, messages and activities for increasing the synthesis, translation and exchange of knowledge regarding Indigenous social determinants of health. This forum was highly successful, leading to the establishment of an Indigenous reference group and increasing momentum for individuals from diverse sectors to work collaboratively to address the social determinants of Indigenous peoples’ health. As a result, the From Visions to actions: Second forum on social determinants of Aboriginal peoples’ health was held in Vancouver in 2009. This forum focused on various mechanisms for exploring Indigenous social determinants of health, including infrastructure needs, partnerships and/or collaborations to assist in moving on a health agenda, and tools to assist in facilitating intersectoral collaboration to address social determinants of health within communities.

The proceedings report from the Transforming Our Realities forum showcases the new and innovative information that was shared on cross-sectoral and holistic approaches to addressing the determinants of Indigenous peoples’ health. It features statements of the opening keynote addresses by Phil Fontaine (the former Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations) and the Honourable Carolyn Bennet (Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs). It includes the perspectives from panelists who spoke broadly about their work on the determinants of health, such as the structural roots of ongoing health inequities; family kinship and traditional concepts of health and well-being; and intersectoral networks, collaboration, and relationship building to advance Indigenous peoples’ health. After the closing keynote address by Madeleine Dion Stout, who encouraged future opportunities to continue this important dialogue, Dr. Margo Greenwood committed the NCCIH to host a fourth national forum on the social determinants of Indigenous peoples' health by the end of 2017.

This proceedings report is accompanied by a video compilation of the forum. This DVD, which you can also watch on-line, showcases footage from the keynotes and panel discussions.



With our thanks to:

Phil Fontaine and Dr. Carolyn Bennett, thank you both for graciously accepting our invitation to provide the keynote address at our forum.

Elders Sherrylyn Sarazin, Tim Yearington and Sally Webster, thank you for warmly opening the forum and welcoming the participants to the traditional territory of the Algonquin peoples.

Mr. Harold Tarbell, thank you for facilitating and encouraging respectful participation, networking and dialogue over the course of the forum, and for keeping us on track.

Ms. Colleen Stephenson, thank you for animating the words and thoughts shared at the forum through your artwork.

Ya Yo Productions, thank you to the crew who filmed the forum and put much care into producing the DVD Transforming our realities: The determinants of health and Indigenous People.

Prairie Fire, thank you for the pride and joy you instilled in all of us through the beauty of Métis dance and song.

The NCCIH would also like to acknowledge and thank our keynote speakers and all panelists for sharing their time, experience, insights and wisdom.

This event has been made possible through a financial contribution from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of the Public Health Agency of Canada.



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