Bear Witness Day & Jordan's Principle
Content Warning: Mentions of medical discrimination towards Indigenous youth
Hi all! Today is Bear Witness Day! More colloquially, some of you may know this day as Spirit Bear’s birthday or Jordan’s Day.
This is a very significant day, as it honours the memory of Jordan River Anderson, an Indigenous child from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba. Jordan battled many health complications in the early years of his life, and both the Manitoba and federal government behaved with gross negligence when handling his case.
From his experience within the Canadian healthcare system, which is representative of what many Indigenous children endure, Jordan’s Principle was born. This principle is an essential legal act that was created to make certain that Indigenous children receive the aids, services, and supports they need, whenever they may need them. Alongside receiving assistance in a timely manner, Jordan’s Principle calls for culturally appropriate and relevant services, which help to safeguard the best interests of the child and their community. All in all, it is a protective measure to ensure equality and equity for Indigenous youth within the healthcare systems of what we currently call Canada.
We hope you all take some time to think, reflect, and always “bear witness” to ensure the fulfillment of Jordan’s Principle in healthcare settings! For further learning, you can read “Spirit Bear and Children Make History” for free in Cree, English, or French; alternatively, you can also watch some of the films, music videos, and other educational videos the First Nation’s Caring Society has produced! For additional ways you can support Jordan's Principle, see here!
Author: Misha, ITMP Blog Coordinator
Photo Credits: Celebrate Bear Witness Day via First Nations Caring Society