“After the release of the Paige Report, something broke inside me”, says Patrick Smith, creator of the campaign. “The report made clear the immediate need for action toward social change and justice”.
Culture Saves Lives was started after the Representative for Children and Youth report about Paige, an Indigenous girl whom the social care system tracked and monitored from birth while neglecting to provide her with relevant support and services. In 2013, Paige passed away from a drug overdose in the DTES. She was 19 years old.
Paige’s story is not unique and more needs to be done. Coinciding with the Truth And Reconciliation Commission released this year, we decided direct and immediate action needed to be taken. We believe it is time for a wider discussion and action around decolonizing normative health service practices. The medicine wheel teaches us that wellbeing encompasses the whole person – it is a balanced approach to health. While medical services address the physical and mental components, it is culture, participating in culture, and sharing of culture that will address the emotional and spiritual components of an individual, community, and nation. Research Shows Culture Saves Lives