Indigenous Leaders Meet with Minister of Health and Social Services

May 15, 2018
News Releases

YELLOWKNIFE (May 15, 2018) – Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services met with NWT Indigenous leaders in Yellowknife May 10-11, 2018. This government to government meeting represented the third meeting between the minister and leaders.  Building on successes from the previous meetings in the K’atl’odeechee First Nation (2015) and Norman Wells (2016), leaders discussed health outcomes and strategies.

The two-day meeting covered a variety of health and social services topics including system transformation, building a culturally respectful health and social services system, cannabis public education and awareness, and primary health and community care reform.

The meeting provided a process for leaders to collaborate and discuss common solutions for three main areas: community health and wellness, children and youth initiatives, and engagement strategies. Leaders also committed to continued government to government discussions on topics of shared interest including addressing mental health issues and stigma.

The meeting took place during National Nursing Week (May 7-13), and leaders also discussed the important contributions of nurses in communities across the Northwest Territories. Leaders expressed their pride, in particular, in the Indigenous nurses working within the health and social services system. They also acknowledged the unique circumstances that many nurses face in working to provide care in Indigenous cultural environments and isolated community settings that may be new to them. Leaders appreciate the effort these nurses make to provide respectful care for the people of the NWT, and recognize and thank them for their valuable contributions to addressing the unique health challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in particular

As part of the Government of Northwest Territories commitment to trilateral engagement on health and social services files, officials from the federal Department of Indigenous Services also presented a session providing an overview of the First Nations Inuit Health Branch funding in the Northwest Territories.


“Our government has a priority to foster government-to-government relationships with Indigenous governments. This forum allows us to collaborate, brainstorm and find positive outcomes for residents in our communities. I am pleased with the discussions and look forward to future meetings with leaders.”
- Glen Abernethy, Minister of Health and Social Services

“This is a good forum. It’s an opportunity for us as Indigenous leaders to have a say in the programs and services for our people. It is a new approach to working together for better outcomes.”
-Grand Chief George Mackenzie, Tłįchǫ Government

Related Links

Caring for Our People Strategic Plan for the NWT Health and Social Services System 2017 to 2020

System Transformation Questions and Answers

National Nursing Week

Media Contact:

Damien Healy
Manager of Communications
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of the Northwest Territories
1-867-767-9052 ext. 49034