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Indigenous Health

Indigenous Health supports PHSA-wide work  to eradicate Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination and embed Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility across the organization.

Smudge bowl with medicines 

Our work

PHSA Indigenous Health is guided by Coast Salish Knowledge Keeper Sulksun (Shane Pointe), W̱SÁNEĆ (Tsartlip) and Quw'utsun Elder Rose Guerin and St'at'imc Elder Saa Hiil Thut (Gerry Oleman).

PHSA Indigenous Health uses the metaphor of the canoe journey for the PHSA-wide work to name, understand and disrupt ongoing settler colonialism and white supremacy. This works includes examining and unsettling settler privilege and power imbalances. The aim is to eradicate Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in PHSA. This obliges the organization to navigate through uncharted waters. It requires individual and collective commitments and actions.

Indigenous Health supports this journey from a distinctions-based approach. PHSA recognizes the distinct cultures, self-determination, Rights and Title of First Nations Peoples on the lands on which PHSA is situated and which we serve, as well as the individual and collective Rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

Indigenous Health supports PHSA’s responsibility to respond to the legislative obligations and provincial commitments to Indigenous Peoples found in the following foundational documents:

  • The Transformative Change Accord
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
  • B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIPA)
  • B.C. Declaration Act Action Plan
  • Declaration of Commitment on Cultural Safety and Humility in Health Services
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports
  • Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 
  • In Plain Sight Full Report: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care 
  • Remembering Keegan: A BC First Nations Case Study Reflection

We collaborate with Indigenous Health programs across PHSA and Indigenous communities, organizations and partners throughout B.C. to advance health equity for Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous Health is organized into three streams of work: 

  • Cultural Safety & Transformation – including San’yas Anti-racism Cultural Safety Training; 
  • Systems Transformation – including the Indigenous Youth Wellness team; and 
  • Policy, Planning & Strategic Support

PHSA provides services on the traditional, ancestral and unceded and ceded territories of First Nations across British Columbia. Our main office is located within the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). We give thanks for the opportunity to live, work and support care here. 

Programs & Services

PHSA has two groups of Indigenous Patient Navigators (IPNs) that support culturally safe experiences for Indigenous peoples. One group of IPNs who works specifically to support those wishing to make a complaint through the Patient Care Quality Office and the other group of IPNs support specific PHSA programs.

Indigenous patient navigators (IPNs):
  • Act as a resource and support for Indigenous patients and health care providers to ensure the provision of care is client centred and culturally safe
  • Address/interrupt Indigenous-specific racism
  • Promote Cultural Safety and Humility training and education for staff and employees of PHSA
While both groups of navigators support culturally safe experiences for Indigenous peoples, they have different roles.

PHSA Indigenous Patient Navigator- Patient Experience

This role specifically addresses patient experiences of Indigenous-specific racism and unsafe care within the health care system. The IPN-patient experience can provide support for filing a complaint with the Patient Care Quality Office (PCQO) as well as provide other patient experience support. For further information and contact details please click on the Brochure link provided below.

Site-specific Indigenous Patient Navigators

Indigenous patient navigators (IPNs) collaborate with Indigenous peoples and their families to ensure access to high-quality care that is trauma-informed, culturally safe and free of racism and discrimination.
These IPNs provide direct service to patients and their families with PHSA programs.

Find a Indigenous Patient Navigators by site

There are 18 Indigenous Patient Navigators working at a number of locations across PHSA. For information about specific IPN program, please contact:

San'yas means 'way of knowing' in Kwak'wala the language of  the Kwakwaka'wakw Peoples. The founder and creator of San'yas, Dr. Cheryl Ward, is Kwakwaka'wakw. 


San'yas Anti-Indigenous Cultural Safety Training Programs offer both anti-racist online training courses and consultation services to support organizational and systems change. The long-term goal is to correct and transform the societal systems that continue to harm Indigenous people. This is achieved with active participation to enhance self-awareness and knowledge in Indigenous-specific anti-racism.


Select San'yas programs offer professional education credits.

To learn more please visit the San'yas training website. 

The National Indigenous Cultural Safety (ICS) Learning Series of webinars provides an opportunity to access knowledge, experiences, and perspectives in support of collective efforts to strengthen Indigenous cultural safety across sectors. At each session, guest speakers present topics related to Indigenous cultural safety. In live streams, facilitators encourage participants to submit questions to be answered at the end of the session. Each webinar is recorded and an excellent resource for self-directed group or individual learning.

Learn more, register for the next webinar or watch previous ones at:

Questions or more information:


The ICS learning series is produced by PHSA Indigenous Health and guided by an advisory council of national and international Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders.

Teachings In The Air is an Indigenous health and wellness podcast hosted by Elder Gerry Oleman. Teachings In The Air aims to inspire, motivate, and empower Indigenous people to healthy by being sound in mind, body and spirit. 

For more information, please visit Teachings In The Air Podcast or listen today on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Cuytswi is an online educational program for Indigenous boys aimed at promoting wellness on their journey to adulthood.

For more information please visit Indigenous Youth Wellness

Ask Auntie is an online educational program for Indigenous girls aimed at promoting wellness while on their journey to adulthood.

For more information please visit Indigenous Youth Wellness

Programs & Services




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