Serpent River First Nation Chief and Council Invest in Health

SERPENT RIVER FIRST NATION, ON, Nov. 11, 2011 /CNW/ - In a final meeting ending the their term in office, Chief and Council of Serpent River First Nation have made a bold step forward in promoting Sports and Recreation and the Health of their citizens.

The Chief of Serpent River First Nation structured a policy discussion at the finance committee last week that sought investment from the bands gaming revenue fund. Last night the Council agreed unanimously to his proposal. "We need to find a way to target health and social issues for all of our families both on the First Nation and those that live away from the community. We have the resources to contribute to the well-being of our citizens, we just need dedication and creativity," explains Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini.

Over the next several weeks, the First Nations Health, Social and Finance staff will be designing a delivery mechanism for a $500.00 annual grant per child under the age of eighteen. The idea coming from the policy is that all Serpent River First Nation citizens should have access to the benefit of Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation funds that come to the community on a monthly basis. The Chief says, "We receive our portion of a 1.7% share of all gaming revenues in Ontario which amounts to a substantial fund that is based on a per-capita formula. Its about time we exercise a distribution objective that makes a difference and targets on an important matter like the health of our children."

Further, the Chief has shared that this investment must seek value-added opportunities. He stated that this is a perfect opportunity to commission a Health and Social study on the determinants health and eradicating issues like diabetes and other social impediments, as well, highlights the value of integrated partnerships on First Nation health. The First Nation will be eager to speak with Health Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, and other First Nation organizations and provincial ministries on health to see if a team approach can built into what will be a substantial investment for both on and off reserve populations of Serpent River First Nation.

"If we are going to explore evolving health authority models in our communities," says Day, "we must be willing to think outside of the box and extend every opportunity to take a new approach. In this case, we are turning to the principle of investment spending in the lives of our children; I'm sure we won't go wrong with that."

The Chief and Council are hopeful that this important initiative will be implemented in the next few months and that other governments will be ready to roll their sleeves up and collaborate on this vital investment.

SOURCE Anishinabek Nation

For further information:

Melissa Chesterfield, Communication Specialist SRFN
melissac.srfn@ontera.net or 705-844-2418

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Anishinabek Nation

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Union of Ontario Indians

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