Prior to 1950, Western health care services were essentially nonexistent or very limited in the Mushkegowuk territory. Cree knowledge and practices of medicines, healing practices including midwifery were the foundations of healthcare. With the presence of the Roman Catholic Church, traditional practices were beginning to be outlawed. In 1950, the federally funded and operated Moose Factory Indian and Inuit Hospital was constructed as a tuberculosis facility. It operated as an Indian zone hospital serving the far north Inuit and Indian communities.
James Bay General Hospital was formed in 1969 from hospitals built and funded by the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1900s. These hospitals were constructed in Moosonee, Fort Albany and Attawapiskat. In 1969, after the fire of the Moosonee hospital, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Province of Ontario, began working on the transfer of land and health services to Ontario. Subsequent to this transfer, new facilities were built in Attawapiskat (1985), Fort Albany (1987) and Moosonee (1993) under the Province of Ontario.
1994 the Ontario Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy was launched in response to high levels of family violence and poor health status among the Aboriginal population. The AHAC (Aboriginal Health Access Centre) model was established under AHWS creating 16 AHAC/PCT centres across Ontario. The Mushkegowuk region was not included in this development, the majority of emergency, acute, primary, tertiary and quaternary health care services are provided through Weeenebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA).
In 1996, services were transferred from the federal government under Health Canada to a locally-appointed and controlled Board of Directors under the Weeneebayko Health Ahtuskaywin; it remained funded by Health Canada with some provincial funding for James Bay Ambulance Services, Weeneebayko Diabetes Health Education Program, Dental Services and the Community Mental Health Program.
In February 2016, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Chiefs and Mushkegowuk Council declared a state of health and public health emergency to address urgent and long-standing health issues caused by the inequality of health and health care services.
Mushkegowuk Chiefs in Assembly, through resolution, mandated the establishment of a Mushkegowuk Council Area Primary Care Hub team with a focus on patient centered primary care to develop a District Hub Inter-Professional Primary Care Team based on a holistic framework for the integration of culturally safe, collaborative, team-based, patient centered care, in a primary care setting. The model is based on the tradition and cultural practices of the James Bay people – Mino Pimatiziwin.
Mushkegowuk Health is community-governed and works collaboratively with existing services to provide culturally safe primary care services to communities in the Mushkegowuk territory.