SK Indigenous Strategy on HIV & AIDS (SISHA)
Celebrating building relationships across Saskatchewan's Indigenous territories, SISHA is becoming known in all areas of Saskatchewan and more people are engaged in addressing Indigenous HIV.
SISHA is a vision.
It holds the wisdom of Elders. It holds the wisdom of communities. It holds the wisdom of Indigenous people who have worked the front-line of the HIV response since the beginning - in some cases for more than 30 years. It holds the wisdom of people living with HIV - the ones we must listen to if ever this virus is to be stopped.
SISHA is also called a strategy to reflect the common language of health services, and to bridge between Indigenous and colonized ways. SISHA can open up conversations, provide a way for service providers to connect with the work and begin to identify ways to shift or adapt to align with SISHA, and to create opportunities for mutual learning, restoring kinship, truth-telling, and reconciliation.
~ Everyone can be part of implementing and delivering SISHA ~
Released in April 2016, a revised version of SISHA is available here.
In 2013, discussions of developing a specific Indigenous Strategy on HIV and AIDS led by All Nations Hope Network were held. Several groups including the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, Prince Albert Grand Council, PA Mètis Women’s Association, and other interested stakeholders met at the All Nations Hope Network offices to discuss the strategy. It was agreed that Indigenous people within Saskatchewan are experiencing higher rates of HIV and AIDS than the rest of the country and that current strategies are not enough to combat this alarming epidemic. It was decided that specific targeted prevention, education, and culturally appropriate programs and services, are needed, and to that end the Saskatchewan Indigenous Strategy for HIV and AIDS (SISHA) was conceived.
In December 2013, following traditional and cultural protocols, a Pipe Ceremony was held and prayers were said by Elders, asking Creator, Grandfathers and Grandmothers, to bless the development and implementation of SISHA. Following the Pipe Ceremony that evening, a Round Dance and Giveaway was held in Regina, Saskatchewan. This was the first time that a Round Dance was held for those who had made their journey to the Spirit World by AIDS. The elders spoke of the significance of the Round dance to the participants.
Saskatchewan Indigenous Council on HIV and AIDS
Early January 2014, the Saskatchewan Indigenous Council on HIV and AIDS was formed. In 2013 All Nations Hope Network received funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct the development and the implementation of a Saskatchewan Indigenous Strategy on HIV and AIDS (SISHA).
Stakeholders within Saskatchewan who work within the field of HIV and AIDS, including Aboriginal people living with HIV and leaders in the HIV movement were invited to sit as Saskatchewan Indigenous Council of HIV and AIDS (SICHA) members to oversee, direct, and control the development and ultimately the implementation of the SISHA. There were several meetings held to discuss the Council’s roles and responsibilities during the months of January and up to March, 2014 with SICHA members being presented with draft Terms of References that they discussed, revised, and adopted in June 2014.
A face to face meeting was held in Prince Albert at the end of March, 2014. At the face to face meeting, the Council members worked on the Vision and Mission Statements of the SICHA, discussed the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and also did an exercise of Where We’ve Been in Terms of HIV in Saskatchewan, Where we are Now, and Where we want to be. They also prepared the framework, which set out the seven strategic priorities for SISHA.
Several drafts were presented over the summer; further feedback was obtained in August from community members and incorporated into the document.
SISHA was released on December 1st, 2014 at the national launch of Aboriginal AIDS Awareness Week in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Indigenous Council on HIV and AIDS (SICHA) envisions Indigenous people(s) exercising their inherent right to determine their wholistic health.
The SICHA mission is to develop, promote, and implement action for prevention, care, treatment, and support to lower the impact of HIV and AIDS, and other related issues such as Hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections, mental health, co-morbidities, and HIV and aging experienced by Indigenous People. We value adaptability, functionality, and sustainability as a way of life and being.
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Culturally Responsive Framework
(please contact Terrina Bellegarde at FSIN for more information about this document)
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples