College of

TRADITIONAL

CHINESE MEDICINE

PRACTITIONERS +

ACUPUNCTURISTS

of British Columbia

CTCMA Signs Statement of Apology for Indigenous Racism in BC Health Care

Sep. 9, 2021

VANCOUVER— In response to the In Plain Sight report, which detailed systemic racism against Indigenous peoples in the B.C. health care system, 11 Health Regulatory Colleges in B.C., including CTCMA, have signed a Joint Statement of Apology and Commitments to Action.

In the Joint Statement the Colleges state: “As the leaders of health regulatory colleges in British Columbia that govern more than 21,000 health professionals, we respectfully and humbly apologize to Indigenous peoples (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit), communities and registrants of our respective Colleges who have experienced and suffered from racism while engaging with our organizations or with the health professionals we regulate.”

“We hope that this apology and commitment to action can be the start of a new journey to restore our relationship and enable collaborative work toward continued reconciliation and healing.”

The Joint Statement was signed by the 11 Colleges at a July 27, 2021 ceremony with an Indigenous leader, knowledge carrier and witnesses at Spanish Banks in Vancouver on the unceded, ancestral, traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

“It is great to see the collective leadership being provided by the Health Regulators’ commitment to the Joint Statement of Apology and Commitments to Action,” said Joe Gallagher, k'ʷunəmɛn, Tla’amin Nation, a First Nations consultant for the Health Regulators. “The Health Regulators are a key part of the BC health system and the work done today marks the responsibilities they have committed to through First Nations teachings. Their actions moving forward are essential to eradicating Indigenous-specific racism and achieving Cultural Safety and Humility in the health care system through the health professionals they regulate.”

The ceremony location included an anchor sculpture as a symbol of the signatory Colleges being grounded in this important moment of commitment. A mountain with a human form in the distance acted as the official witness of the ceremony.

“We are becoming One (Nutsamaht)! This powerful moment proves that to me,” said Sulksun (Shane Pointe), a First Nations Knowledge Carrier who guided the ceremony.

The signing of the Joint Statement of Apology and Commitment to Action is an important step toward reconciliation with British Columbia’s Indigenous peoples,” said Peter Stevenson-Moore, CTCMA Board Chair. “It is the responsibility of all of us to appreciate the trauma that has been experienced while receiving care and ensure that Indigenous peoples are, from today forward, able to access healthcare services that are culturally safe and free from racism.”

Joining the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners and Acupuncturists of BC are the following signatory Colleges:

  • College of Chiropractors of BC

  • College of Dental Hygienists of BC

  • College of Denturists of BC

  • College of Dietitians of BC

  • College of Naturopathic Physicians of BC

  • College of Occupational Therapists of BC

  • College of Opticians of BC

  • College of Optometrists of BC

  • College of Physical Therapists of BC

  • College of Speech and Hearing Health Professionals of BC

In accordance with First Nations protocols, several people attending the ceremony were called upon as official witnesses to legitimize the work and carry the oral history of this historic event. These witnesses were essential to the ceremony and are responsible for sharing what they saw, heard, and felt with their family when they return home and whenever they are asked. Witnesses are an important component of oral traditions and hold the truth which ensures each of us remain accountable to our commitment set out in the apology.

“It was indeed an honour to attend the ceremony and sign the Joint Statement,” noted Jonathan Ho, CTCMA’s Registrar and CEO. “It is important that the messages of the ceremony be carried forward and widely shared, and that health regulators be accountable for these commitments.”