In October 2013, I had the privilege of graphically recording at the Gathering Wisdom VI conference, hosted by the First Nations Health Authority, First Nations Health Directors Association, and First Nations Health Council. Over 900 delegates, including Chiefs, Health Directors, and Provincial and Federal Partners attended GW6.
I was invited to graphically record the governance stream. In this session, First Nations leaders engaged in strategic-level dialogue on health issues. To the side of the room and in view of the delegates, I set up my 8-foot easel and got to work. Graphic recording adds value to conferences- unique, custom visuals increase engagement with the information during and after the event.
The top image begins to visualize factors that make up a social determinants of health framework. A social determinants of health framework expands the idea of health from the individual to a bigger picture. Wellness is more than individual choices – if I smoke, how often I eat vegetables or exercise. What affects my wellness is also my community, including environment (land), culture, and connectedness, and broader policies.
During a rich and nuanced dialogue, I graphically recorded how a culturally appropriate lens in a First Nations context adds more layers to social determinants of health: Does the land where I live have clean water, are there good jobs, health services, safe housing? How does racism, colonization, or local control of resources affect wellness of both the individual and of a nation? What about the intersections between wellness and the justice system, self determination, child apprehension, and revitalization of language? This was only the starting point…
The second image reflects the core concepts of health governance using reciprocal accountability. This image is in the context of a historic transfer. October 1st marked the transfer of health services to the First Nations Health Authority from Health Canada. The opening of GW6 included the “Honouring our Shared Journey: Commemorating the Transfer Ceremony”. The FNHA writes this ceremony is “the largest and only one of its kind to ever take place.”
After the sessions, information was compiled into summary documents, along with GW6 graphic recordings, videos, program and photos on the FNHA website.