Report From The National Forum On NNADAP Renewal

January 12-13, 2010 Ottawa

Welcome and opening remarks from partner organizations in the renewal process

Elder Albert Dumont opened the meeting with prayer and teachings. He told of speaking to a group of youth, and telling them a story in which they were offered a choice between two canoes, each with many people in them. In the first canoe, only one person has a paddle; in the second, everyone has one. The hope was that youth would choose the second canoe, because in the first, the lone paddler determines where everyone will go. Elder Dumont suggested that at this meeting, participants’ voices are their paddles; they should speak and make sure that the voices of their communities are heard.Following Elder Dumont’s opening, three other speakers welcomed participants and gave their thoughts about renewal. All three emphasized that the renewal process will go on for months to come, and encouraged participants to “remain engaged” during the validation processes.

Kathy Langlois, Director-General of Community Health Programs at Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB) emphasized that NNADAP is an excellent example of a community-based program. She suggested that NNADAP has been a leader in developing holistic approaches to treatment that are now being recognized as beneficial by “mainstream” centres. Nonetheless, there is a need to adapt the system to meet new needs, both by using new funds allocated from the National Anti-drug Strategy in 2007, and by re-allocating existing funds.

Chief Austin Bear from the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation (NNAPF) spoke of the dedication of the front-line and other workers in NNADAP. He also outlined the history of NNAPF, which was born out of the 1998 NNADAP review and formally established in 2000. Since that time, the foundation has developed good partnerships with Health Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, and other organizations. Chief Bear suggested that NNADAP let some opportunities “slip by” after the 1989 program review, and we must not let this happen again, particularly after all the input we have received from communities. As we look at renewing the program, it is crucial to retain NNADAP’s emphasis on culture and traditions. We must also be wary of moving into a limbo of unending transition: the program needs a solid “home base.”

Jonathan Thompson, Director of Health and Social Programs at the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) spoke of the importance of taking culture into account, and making sure that the NNADAP renewal process is regionally-driven. He said the AFN was looking to participants at this meeting for their expertise, and to set out priorities.

Download Report From The National Forum On NNADAP Renewal

NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More