Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin Inc. (KIM) was established to work towards a new health system that will better respond to the needs of northern First Nations people in Manitoba. This new system will be developed through speaking directly to healthcare experts and communities and negotiating with systems so that services can be tailored to meet the needs of each First Nation and northern First Nations as a collective.
The community members of the northern Manitoba First Nations are the foundation of this new and historic health care system. KIM is governed by a three-part structure led by First Nations and is inclusive of 23 political leaders appointed by each of 6 caucuses and a 5 to 11-member board of directors with preference in selection to persons with experience in the health sector.
KIM supports health and wellness services for 23 First Nation communities in northern Manitoba with a focus on equitable care, addressing racism in the health care system, responsiveness to emerging needs, and filling gaps in the health care system. This is accomplished through advocacy, collaboration, and integration with the First Nation communities, and federal/provincial partners.
KIM’s Logo is meant to convey:
- The uniqueness of each First Nation and health sovereignty, through the three distinct medicine bags. Each First Nation should have the ability to exercise choice as to what to include for health and wellness services in their Nation’s “medicine bag” – including the choice to access traditional and western medicines.
- The three-part inclusive and accountable governance structure – the Keewatinohk Inniniw Okimowin Council of First Nations elected leaders, the 6 First Nations caucuses, and the Board of Directors.
- Continuity of care without gaps – with a single string that joins the three medicine bags.
- A sense of home and belonging on our lands – the northern lights, waterways, and the trees.
- The organization overall as a welcoming place, with ownership by northern First Nations people and a unifying connection to it.
Dr. Barry Lavallee
MD, CCFP, FCFP, MClSc
Chief Executive Officer of KIM
Dr. Barry Lavallee is a member of the Metis community of St. Laurent, Manitoba and a descendent of Duck Bayand Lake Manitoba First Nations. Dr. Lavallee focused his entire career on improving care and outcomes for First Nations and Metis people – as a practicing physician and as an educator, researcher and advocate.
When asked about his professional legacy, Dr. Lavallee’s humility is apparent as he is reluctant to share about his many accomplishments. Among them, he has presented to government committees, supported research related to Indigenous peoples, and participated as an expert witness during the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. He remains an advisor to Indigenous medical students and a responsive advocate for First Nations leaders.
KIM colleagues have taken notice of how he respects and honours women, as well as traditional healers and knowledge keepers. For five years he was privileged to work side by side at the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg doing ‘rounds’ with Don Cardinal, the renowned Indigenous leader and healer. This had a profound impact on Dr. Lavallee’s life and future work, leading him to want to actively engage and bring together western and Indigenous healing systems.
The CEO role will provide Dr. Lavallee with a challenging and rewarding opportunity, within the context of concurrent health systems transformation sought by First Nations, Manitoba and Canada. With his more than 30 years of hard-earned leadership skills as an Indigenous physician and an educator – he is ready to extend his leadership and his learning yet further to achieve transformative change through collaboration, but that must always benefit the people.