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“As Indigenous People we have always done research, always searched for understanding, ways of being and knowing the world around us in order to survive, we just didn’t call it research”

~ Former Chief Norman Bone, Keeseekoowenin First Nation


The First Nations Regional Health Survey (RHS) is:

  • The only national survey of its kind designed, developed, and delivered by First Nations peoples for First Nations peoples.

  • Supported by most regions across the country, the Manitoba Chiefs-in-assembly, and is regarded as the #1 First Nations people survey of choice.

  • Focuses on the health and well-being of First Nations in a holistic way, addressing physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects.

  • Looks at specific health issues and the following areas:

    • housing,

    • employment,

    • education,

    • residential school,

    • community development,

    • services and

    • other priority areas.

  • Plays a vital role in helping us to understand not only what makes First Nations people in Manitoba unwell, but more importantly, what makes us healthy.

  • Focuses on the child, adolescent, and adult demographic.


Within the Manitoba Region, the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba (FNHSSM) and the Health Information and Research Governance Committee (HIRGC) are mandated to:

  • Provide oversight and guidance to RHS within the Manitoba region

  • Promote the First Nations principles of OCAP™, where First Nations have the right have Ownership, Control, Access and Possession of their own data

  • Work to ensure First Nations are partners in the research process from beginning to end.


The RHS has been successful in:

  • Collecting information about health, education, income, environment and other concerns from First Nations living on reserve across Canada every four to five years since 1997

  • In total, 3,390 surveys (Adult, Youth, and Children combined) were collected from the targeted sample of 4,527 surveys.

  • Estimates derived from the sample are weighted to be representative of the general Manitoba First Nations population on-reserve.




The Regional Health Survey was implemented because people living on-reserve and northern communities were left out of 3 national surveys. In 1997, the RHS went into 7 different regions across the country and eventually expanded to include all 10 regions. As a result, a longitudinal design was adopted and began the first phase of the project. The RHS was successfully implemented in three phases; the first being a pilot phase from 1997 to 1998, followed by a standalone RHS from 2002 to 2003, and the third and final phase from 2008 to 2010.


The Manitoba First Nations (MFN) RHS team, under the guidance and support of The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), Chiefs Task Force on Health (CTFoH), and the AMC Health Information Research Governance Committee (HIRGC) implemented the 2008-2010 RHS within the Manitoba region. On March 31, 2010, AMC, CTFoH, and the HIRGC wrapped up the data collection phase of the Manitoba First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey.


The locally updated band membership lists were used to randomly select the participants. The Final Report on MFN RHS (2008 – 2010) contained basic descriptive statistics and some analytical statistics about on-reserve Manitoba First Nations peoples. A sample size of 74.9% of the target number was achieved. In order to better understand the needs of each distinct community, adjustments to the data set have been done to reflect the territories being surveyed.





  • First Nations Information Governance Centre

  • Assembly of First Nations (Ex-Officio)


Manitoba Region

  • Union of Nova Scotia Indians

  • Union of New Brunswick Indians

  • First Nation of Quebec and Labrador Health and SocialServices Commission

  • Chiefs of Ontario

  • Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

  • Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations

  • Treaty 7 Management Corporation (for Treaty 6, 7, and 8)

  • First Nations Health Committee (B.C.) (No Rep)

  • Dene National Office

  • Council of Yukon First Nations





  • 217 First Nation communities

  • 72.5% response rate

  • 21,757 surveys

  • 11,043 adults

  • 4,837 youth

  • 5,877 children

  • 5.3% of total on reserve population (2007)


Manitoba Region

  • 34 First Nation communities

  • 74.9% response rate

  • 3,390 surveys

  • 1,739 adults (18-55yrs plus

  • 757 youth (12-17yrs)

  • 894 children (0-11yrs)

  • 4.34% of on reserve population (2007)

RHS Manitoba Region Report Cover final.p
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