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FNHA brings traditional and new services to All Native Basketball Tournament

At the All Native Basketball Tournament, the First Nations Health Authority is looking to inform and engage with tournament-goers.

The ANBT provides a unique opportunity to provide basic traditional and modern services, according to Julie Morrison, vice president of the FNHA’s regional operations.

With 55 communities across the North, there are few if any events that bring so many First Nations together in the region.

“With this All Native tournament, we have so many communities coming together,” said Morrison, who has been coming to the annual tournament for three decades and has some family members playing this edition.

The FNHA also brings flu vaccines, along with a mobile diabetes team to do regular checks.

“Sometimes we catch somebody who might be in the diabetic range but won’t know it.”

Traditional healers are at the community centre, with elders able to access one-on-one wellness sessions.

“We bring in different traditional wellness providers that we use ourselves,” she said.

“Lots of people carry grief, but they don’t talk about it, so providing the wellness is moving the energy around, taking off stuff we’re carrying that’s heavy and can weigh us down.”

The tournament can also be overwhelming for elders, and the FNHA’s space allows them to relax — and even have a quick nap — on some comfy furniture before they get back to the basketball.

The FNHA also runs a children’s art room, along with a physio area for players.

Seth Forward, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View