AMC Calls for Collaboration Following Apology from the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing

December 14, 2023

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) says they are open to collaborating with the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) following a public apology made by the association earlier this week. The apology, which recognized and acknowledged the historical injustices and challenges that First Nations students and faculty have faced within the nursing education system, was part of a response to the pressing need for change in nursing education and the urgent call to address healthcare disparities faced by First Nations throughout the province.

“First Nations must take the lead in guiding the necessary systemic educational reform required to dismantle the barriers and challenges impacting our Nations,” said AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing recommendations are a significant step towards a more equitable nursing education system. However, following through on this commitment means thoughtfully engaging First Nations Leadership to develop First Nations-specific educational modules and training to see this transformation happen.”

Moreover, the recommendations put forth by the CASN aim to rectify historical injustices in Manitoba’s healthcare system and foster inclusivity for First Nations. Grand Chief Merrick emphasizes that several crucial areas need additional focus to achieve a comprehensive solution:

Mental Health and Wellness Support:

  • The recommendations lack specific measures for addressing the mental health of First Nations students.
  • The AMC recommends incorporating Elders into nursing education programs to offer cultural guidance and support tailored to the unique mental health challenges faced by these students.

Trauma-Informed Teaching:

  • While acknowledging the need for a trauma-informed approach, the recommendations lack specific implementation guidance.
  • The AMC suggests comprehensive faculty training to recognize and address the effects of historical traumas, with an emphasis on integrating First Nations healing practices into the curriculum.

Recruitment from Remote Communities:

  • There is a need for targeted strategies to attract and retain First Nations students from remote and underserved communities.
  • Specialized outreach and support programs are crucial to overcoming barriers to education and healthcare access.

Integration of First Nations Knowledge:

  • Recommendations should emphasize actively integrating First Nations knowledge into the curriculum, moving beyond acknowledgment to enhance cultural competency.
  • Incorporating First Nations perspectives is essential for fostering a deeper understanding within nursing education.

Financial Barriers:

  • Access to nursing education remains challenging for First Nations students who must leave their communities.
  • The AMC underscores the importance of establishing financial support programs, including scholarships and grants, to ensure education remains accessible despite financial constraints.

Faculty Diversity:

  • The recommendations should prioritize increasing the representation of First Nations faculty members within nursing education institutions.
  • Diverse faculty members can serve as role models and mentors, fostering a more supportive learning environment for First Nations students.

The AMC urges the CASN to collaborate with First Nations Leadership in addressing the unique experiences, realities, and perspectives of AMC member Nations. It is essential to emphasize to the CASN, as well as all organizations on their reconciliation journey, that solutions must be tailored specifically for First Nations. Broad, pan-indigenous approaches are inadequate for addressing the diverse needs of First Nations.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs


About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 171,000 First Nation citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anishininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.