IPAC Statement in response to the shocking and disrespectful events that precipitated Dr. Tailfeathers’ resignation from Alberta Health Services

Press Release

At the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada, we stand in solidarity with Dr. Tailfeathers as she made the difcult decision to resign from her position with Alberta Health Services and the brave words she has offered to the media in the aftermath of this decision. It is deeply painful for our community of Indigenous physicians to watch as one of our revered and respected sister colleagues is made to feel tokenized and disempowered. We echo the truth that she has shared – that this action by a non-Indigenous organization to nullify the hiring decision that she and her colleagues have made, echoes the role of Indian Agents asserting power over our affairs. It amounts to the same colonial pattern of imposed (and unwanted) control over our rightful autonomy and decision-making when it comes to the issues affecting Indigenous peoples.

We are Indigenous physicians – we understand the complex factors that infuence the health and wellness of our communities. Our call for self-determination in healthcare is well-supported by national and international resolutions – the TRC Calls to Action on Health and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 2023, at a time that we should be focused on reconciliation, we are still fghting for basic sovereignty over our rightful decision-making authority when it comes to healthcare administration, governance, research and provision in many parts of this country.

We hope that Alberta Health Services will refect on the damage this decision has caused, and seek to right its relationships with Indigenous physician leaders whom it clearly needs to guide its important work in caring for our relatives.


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