By Gabriela Jimenez, 2nd year MDP student
|Nanaandawewigamig FNHSSM blankets in the boardroom|
The First Nations Health and Social Secretariat (FNHSSM) is the organization that hosts Partners for Engagement and Knowledge Exchange (PEKE). FNHSSM has multiple types of research projects, health interventions, educational programs and many other activities; most of them implemented in Manitoba, but also with national and international scope. So, because having holistic good health is one of the most important aspects of development, I think that the contribution of this organization to the Indigenous development in Manitoba is enormous.
FNHSSM has a prominent level of commitment with First Nations communities; and in order to preserve and revitalize the “traditional, cultural and modern ways of healing,” they ensure that the Elders participate in the knowledge exchange between western and traditional methods to enhance communities’ health. Every activity held by FNHSSM is developed in a culturally safe and respectful environment.
Because of my field placement with PEKE, I had the privilege to attend different organizational meetings, talks, discussions, workshops and seminars. Some of them are oriented to educate and integrate FNHSSM community: employees, families, partners, advisers, etc. In my opinion, these activities, besides demonstrating the significant role of FNHSSM for community development, they also give employees the opportunity to present their perspectives and to hear others’ experiences regarding current and relevant health-related topics in the provincial and national context.
I have learned not only from my assigned responsibilities, but also from the always-happy office colleagues, from other intern students, the nutritionist, the community speakers, doctors and researchers. It is always challenging to decolonize research, and I consider that this placement was my opportunity to practice decolonization on my own mindset.
It is the end of the field placement, and I know that the Evaluation Plan was my deliverable that implied much more than academic or professional knowledge; it was the pretext to learn from people that are highly committed to work hard to make a change in others’ lives, especially those affected by colonialism.
|The FNHSSM staff - smiling as usual|