B.C. First Nation signs historic health deal

First Nations in British Columbia are taking over their own health system in a first-of-its-kind partnership between aboriginals, and the federal and provincial governments.

VANCOUVER — First Nations in British Columbia are taking over their own health system in a first-of-its-kind partnership between aboriginals, and the federal and provincial governments.

The landmark legal agreement will see B.C. First Nations play a major role in planning and managing their own health programs and incorporating cultural beliefs and values into the system.

Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, who was in Vancouver for the announcement, says the agreement will help streamline administration and encourage the integration of health services for First Nations.

Grand Chief Doug Kelly, the chairman of the First Nation Health Council, predicts the approach will see remarkable improvements in the health of First Nations in B.C. within a generation.

Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo says the agreement allows First Nations to take a step forward by taking back responsibility for heir own lives and for their own communities.