How do you resolve the hesitation First Nations people have with responding to race-based data requests at point of entry in health centres? First Nations Mental Wellness Coordinator Scott Thorsteinson says it's quite simple.

"If there's any process or program that includes First Nation or Indigenous people, there has to be representation," says Thorsteinson. "Otherwise, you're perpetuating a patriarchal relationship and ultimately perpetuating colonialism."

Manitoba is the first province in Canada to make these efforts to try to more accurately identify racism in the health care system, so that First Nations people receive the same quality of care that anybody else does. Thorsteinson says more direct involvement of First Nations people is required.

He explains consultation should also be made with First Nation leaders in or around Portage when it comes to policies such as the gathering of race-based data. 

"First Nations people have been studied to death," adds Thorsteinson. "I think there's a little bit of ambivalence, scrutiny, and just a little bit of wariness around giving out data. Would I advise someone to give race-based data information? That's a tough question. There are a  lot of layers there to work through, really, if you think about what's happened historically to First Nations people. There were studies that haven't gone anywhere and haven't benefited First Nations people as they were intended to. There were a lot of questions there."