By Donna Mior, RN, BSCN, IBCLC

Niwiisoogawaananing Ashinaabeg chi mino bimaadizid

Ogimaawabiitong Kenora Chiefs Advisory (KCA) is committed and dedicated to providing culturally appropriate health and social services which address the needs and enhance the well being and capacity of community members in our affiliated First Nations.  KCA Communities include:

  • Naotkamegwanning First Nation (Whitefish Bay First Nation)
  • Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation (Grassy Narrows)
  • Shoal Lake 40 First Nation
  • Wabaseemoong Independent Nation (Whitedog)
  • Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation (Rat Portage)
  • Northwest Angle 33 First Nation (Dog Paw & Angle Inlet)
  • Washagamis Bay First Nation
  • Animakee Wa Zhing 37 First Nation (Regina Bay and Windigo Island)
  • Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation (Dalles)

Our dynamic staff work within Health, Mental Health & Addictions, Min-O-Qwe-Ke-Ga-Bwe’in Social Services, and Niigaanning Bimaadiziwin (Future Life) programs.  With leadership of the chiefs, our nine community chiefs comprise our board of directors, and guidance from our elders and youth council, traditional ways are embedded in programming to ensure the survival of the Anishinaabe way in the present and future generations.

Manaa-siizabaakotaapinetaa (Together let’s reduce the risk for diabetes)

I started my nursing career in an Acute Care Hospital on a medical unit specializing in renal (kidney) disease.  Renal disease is one of the possible complications of diabetes.  It is known that the prevalence and incidence of diabetes in our Indigenous population is concerning.  Traditional lifestyles were active with healthy food from the land, nibi (water) and tea. Today’s lifestyles are not as active, with more processed foods and sugary drinks contributing to the increase in diabetes and other chronic conditions.  In my role with the Anishinaabe Diabetes Education Program, I can provide information and initiatives to reduce the risk for diabetes and diabetes related complications.  Our program consists of a Registered Nurse and Registered Dietitian.  We strive to provide practical skills and knowledge to promote health and optimal diabetes management.  This is done through a variety of initiatives, including public health fairs, community workshops, cooking classes, access to a lactation consultant, education in schools, resource development, physical activity sessions and capacity building.

First Nation Programs such as, Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative, Healthy Babies Healthy Children, Family Well-being, Prevention, and Right-to-Play collaborate with KCA to provide activities which promote health and wellness.  Physical activity is important for holistic health as it impacts mental, emotional, spiritual and physical wellness.   In February 2020, 14 community and KCA staff embarked on an exciting journey with canfitpro to achieve Fitness Instructor Specialist (FIS) Certification.  Anne Parr, canfitpro PRO TRAINER provided a 3-day training workshop.  For many, this was an introduction to the information and offered many new elements to consider when implementing and encouraging physical activity sessions.  We recognize how this material will enhance our abilities to create and offer programs for all ages to support healthy individuals and communities.  Although our journey, was delayed as a result of Covid-19, we are eager to resume our preparations to complete certification.  Our group appreciates Anne’s energy, knowledge, and expertise as she continues to support us to successfully achieve certification.

It has been stated that “sitting is the new smoking.” MAA MAA CHI DA  (from stationary to physically active).  Everyone benefits from regular physical activity.  Let’s get moving to inspire and motivate healthy active lifestyles.

Diabetes and The Seven Grandfather Teachings

Minaadendamowin

Respect others and respect yourself.  The Creator has given us one body:  take care of your body.

Nbwaakaawin

Learn as much as you can about healthy lifestyles and any health concerns including diabetes. Wisdom is taking small steps to make positive change in your life.

Debwewin

Be truthful that diabetes must be managed every day. When you learn, live, walk with and speak truth about diabetes daily, it may change the way you look at it.

Gwekwaadiziwin

Achieve honesty within yourself: Recognize and acknowledge the effects diabetes can have on your body. Learn all you can about diabetes so that managing it becomes a natural part of your day.

Dibaadendiziwin

Humble yourself (humility): Diabetes is an ever-changing disease, that affects your body. It is important for you to see your diabetes team at least every 3-4 months to live well with diabetes and keep healthy.

Aakwa’ode’ewin

Bravery is making changes that may not be easy, but that you know are good for you. Many changes are difficult at first; they become easier to manage over time.

Zaagi’idiwin

Give unconditional love; when people are weak they need love. When it comes to your health, you must take care of yourself; show love for yourself.

Submitted by Donna Mior, RN, BSCN, IBCLC
Community Diabetes Educator, Anishinaabe Diabetes Education Program
Kenora Chiefs Advisory

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