On August 20, 2008, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the Province of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding on First Nations Health and Well-Being, establishing a formal partnership “to improve coordination of health programming, reduce administrative duplication, better adapt programs to the needs of First Nations and address the gaps in health services for First Nations people” (Government of Saskatchewan, 2008). The partners acknowledge the need to “improve the recruitment and retention of health care providers” and commit to take action “to increase First Nations’ participation in the province’s health care workforce.” Their overarching goal is to improve health outcomes for Saskatchewan First Nations people. We have heard the call for increased Aboriginal participation in the health workforce before. In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples called on federal, provincial, and territorial governments to “implement a co-ordinated and comprehensive human resources development strategy,” to provide funding to support the training of “10,000 Aboriginal professionals over a 10-year period in health and social services,” to support educational institutions (Aboriginal institutions in particular) to provide this training and to ensure that students seeking this training have access to adequate financial support” (Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, 1996).
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