Residents of Saskatchewan Health Authority long-term care facilities in northwest Saskatchewan now have traditional options as part of their regular meal schedule. Once a week, residents in Ile a la Crosse can access traditional foods as part of their meal planning. Plans are being finalized to create a similar program in the La Loche Health Centre by the end of June.
“The residents were so excited when I told them - in their traditional language - that they will now have access to traditional foods including duck, venison, and fish,” says Lorraine Roy, the Manager of Support Services for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ile a la Crosse.
Andre Letendre, a cultural system advisor with First Nations Métis Health, says that when the Saskatchewan Health Authority formalized its commitment to the Calls to Action outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the organization recognized the holistic view of health and well-being to include emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual. Traditional foods are a fundamental component to the Spiritual wellbeing of an individual. It is part of the holistic understanding of health because animals eat the natural medicines and are passed on to the consumer.
“There is great cultural significance to traditional foods in First Nations and Metis culture,” explains Richard Petit, Director of Primary Healthcare for the northwest. “That we are able to offer these traditional foods to our patients at the hospital means so much.”
Long-term care residents in Ile a la Crosse, and soon in La Loche, will be able to access traditional foods as part of their regular meal planning.