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We acknowledge that we live on lands from which Indigenous Peoples were dispossessed by colonialism. Each of us has a responsibility to learn about the exploitation, colonization, and ongoing marginalization of Indigenous communities as well as how these practices, in which we participate, contribute to the perinatal and child health outcomes experienced today.

Colonial ways of thinking are deeply imbedded in Canadian health-care systems and organizations, including BORN Ontario. BORN acknowledges that the way we have traditionally collected, interpreted, shared, and protected perinatal data is rooted in white, western, academic systems. We are currently working on an Indigenous Data Governance (IDG) framework that is based on principles such as OCAP  (Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession), ITK (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami), and CARE (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, and Ethics) and that acknowledges Indigenous data sovereignty.

To help the BORN team develop a deeper understanding of Indigeneity as a whole, we are participating in the San’yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Program – designed to uproot racism and enhance Indigenous cultural safety. All BORN team members are registered in and encouraged to complete the program.

Developing an IDG framework is one of the ways BORN is responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action (CTA).  CTA #55 calls upon all levels of government to provide data requested by the National Council for Reconciliation so it can report progress on closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities regarding health indicators such as:

  • infant mortality;
  • maternal health;
  • birth rates;
  • infant and child health issues; and
  • availability of appropriate health services.

Indigenous pregnant woman in front of flowersIndigenous Data Governance Principles

BORN is engaged in honouring Indigenous data principles.  As a start, BORN is investing in and developing analytical expertise to ensure that decisions made about data pertaining to Indigenous communities at the individual and nation levels are responsive to the values and collective interests of those communities. For example, BORN’s Indigenous Wellness Coordinator is providing ongoing training and support to the Research Team (Data Analysts, Research Coordinators, and Epidemiologists).  This training includes how to incorporate and honor culturally safe practices and Indigenous data governance principles (e.g., OCAP, ITK and CARE).

Each time we engage in land acknowledgement, it is an opportunity to reflect on our individual responsibilities as healthcare practitioners, researchers, and data analysts, as well as our collective responsibility as a province-wide organization to facilitate and improve the health of Indigenous pregnant individuals and children.