First Nations Health Authority honours Dr. Bonnie Henry for 'kind, calm' COVID leadership

·2 min read

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s medical health officer, has been honoured by the First Nations Health Authority for her unwavering leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a post to social media, FNHA thanked Henry for her "kind, calm, and reasoned" leadership during difficult times.

The post noted that matriarchs from the FNHA, the First Nations Health Council, and the First Nations Health Directors Association gathered earlier this week, Oct. 19, mostly virtually, to honour Henry with a ceremony of songs, dance, words and gifts.

On October 19, 2020, matriarchs from the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), the First Nations Health Council (FNHC), and the First Nations Health Directors Association (FNHDA) gathered -- mostly virtually -- to honour Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, for her "kind, calm, reasoned" leadership throughout the pandemic. They did so with ceremony, songs, words, and gifts. Here, Dr. Henry is holding one of her gifts: a pendant from the FNHA's Office of the Chief Medical Officer (OCMO team), presented to her by Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer, also pictured. The pendant was created by Heiltsuk Nation artist Sheldon Williams.

A post shared by First Nations Health Authority (@fnha) on Oct 23, 2020 at 4:11pm PDT

One of the gifts, presented by Dr. Shannon McDonald, FNHA Acting Chief Medical Officer, was a silver pendant created by Heiltsuk Nation artist Sheldon William, which Henry can be seen holding in the above photo.

In an FNHA video update on COVID, McDonald said Indigenous communities had responded "very effectively to the recommendations that were put forward about staying home."

"First nations did that very well from a family environment, all the way to a community environment where they locked down their community and really restricted the number of people that were coming and going," she said.

Although, she highlighted that younger people were still going out and hanging out with friends, and hadn't "quite gotten the message."

As of Oct. 23, there were 176 cases of covid in First Nations communities across B.C., according to Indigenous Services Canada.

In the video, McDonald advised people to continue keeping their bubbles small and to stay home as much as possible, echoing Henry’s message “less faces, bigger spaces.”

"Be kind, be calm and be safe, what Dr. Bonnie says regularly, is a big piece of what we need to do."

The FNHA is working to reform the way health care is delivered to B.C. First Nations through direct services and collaboration with provincial partners, and ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​are working with both provincial and federal partners to actively monitor and respond to the pandemic.

Elisia Seeber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Shore News