In response to a hunger fast by five members of the Sandy Lake Band at the Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital in Northern Ontario (Canada)--a cultural protest of the status of health care services in the Zone--the Federal Minister of Health agreed to establish a Panel to review the region's health care system. The year-long study involved hearings in each of the 28 remote communities of the Zone, and interviews with elders and chiefs, women, and health care providers. A consultation team from McMaster University (Faculty of Health Sciences) assisted the Panel with epidemiological survey research, literature reviews, and the interpretation of the data collected in the proceedings. This paper offers our interpretation of data collected from the qualitative study component. Specifically, it provides an interpretation of the discourse of the native women of the Nishnawbi-Aski Nation on their experience of health and health care. An "idiom of loss" captures, we feel, the depth of their concerns, dilemmas and frustrations.