On June 10-11, 2019, the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Anti-Diabetic Medicine celebrated 16 years of research collaboration with First Nations at a meeting at the Montreal Botanical Garden.
Since 2003, the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Anti-Diabetic Medicine, led by University of Montréal pharmacology professor Pierre Haddad, has been exploring the anti-diabetic potential of plants found in Eeyou Istchee and from traditional medicine of other First Nations in Canada. This project involves Cree Elders, Cree traditional healers, Cree Health Board staff, as well as researchers from the University of Montréal, University of Ottawa, McGill University, and the Montreal Botanical Garden. More recently, researchers from Université du Québec à Montréal, Laval University and Université du Québec en Outaouais have added their expertise in public health and research ethics.
The project aims to improve access to traditional plant medicines, either as part of regular diabetes care, or alongside it. Professor Haddad and the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Anti-diabetic Medicines have been collaborating with the Elders of Eeyou Istchee and the Public Health Department of the CBHSSJB, with rigorous protocols in place to ensure protection of Eeyou-Eenou traditional knowledge.
During the latest June 2019 meeting, academic and community research updates were given to the audience. Experiences were shared between Traditional Knowledge Holders and researchers. At the end of the event, the Team awarded commemorative plaques to each participating community/organization (Cree Nation of Mistissini, CBHSSJB, Innu Nation of Mashteuiatsh, Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach and Squamish Nation of British Columbia) in recognition of their active commitment and exemplary research partnership in this challenging and long-term project seeking to improve the health of Indigenous people across Canada living with diabetes.