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CCSA Statement of Support National Aboriginal Day

Ottawa, June 21, 2012 – National Aboriginal Day is a celebration of the heritage, cultures and traditions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) peoples. It also provides an opportunity for the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) to thank Aboriginal partners and leaders who have provided invaluable guidance about substance abuse among First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

Strong partnerships with Aboriginal leaders and groups provide the foundation for cooperation with Northern and FNIM communities. For successful outcomes, we must work together with Aboriginal partners, listen intently to their advice, and seek their support in the development of culturally appropriate tools and resources that reduce the prevalence of and harm associated with substance abuse in their communities.During the last several years, greater collaboration and partnership with Northern and FNIM communities has resulted in the following developments:

• A partnership between National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation (NNAPF) and CCSA will lead to the development of a report on First Nations community-based alcohol policies; a culturally specific guide to using the Canadian Standards for School-based Youth Substance Abuse Prevention in First Nations Schools; and culturally specific tools to complement the Behavioural Competencies for Canada’s Substance Abuse Workforce.

• Support from Inuit Elder and healer Ms. Meeka Arnakaq, as well as Tungasuvvingat Inuit, led to the development and promotion of a four-part wellness resource called the Meeka Manuals. The Meeka Manuals are designed to integrate the traditional knowledge of Elders, family and community into current healthcare practices by providing resources grounded in cultural traditions and teachings.

• A newly established CCSA National Advisory Council will guide the development of a Canadian prescription drug misuse strategy working with expert advisory committees focused on education, prevention, enforcement and treatment. The National Advisory Council will work closely with the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) of Health Canada, which is currently developing its own strategy. By doing so, efforts at addressing prescription drug misuse can leverage the experience of diverse cultures from across Canada.

• An Elders Advisory Council provides CCSA with cultural guidance, traditional knowledge, strategic advice and recommendations aimed at improving the wellness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis, specifically as this relates to substance abuse issues.

CCSA is honoured to benefit from the insight, traditional knowledge and guidance of Aboriginal partners to reduce the impact of substance abuse among individuals, families and communities across Canada.

For more information about National Aboriginal Day visit Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.