Indigenous all nations healing room opens at KGH

Indigenous community members from across the region lend their support
July 11, 2016

Deb St. Amant, a Métis artist from Trenton participates in a smudging ceremony to open the new room at KGH.

The South East Regional Cancer Program (SERCP) in partnership with Kingston General Hospital (KGH) invited Indigenous community members from across the region to celebrate the newly opened Indigenous all nations healing room.

The space was designed with input from Indigenous patients who were asking for an area to perform culturally important ceremonies such as smudging, circle prayer and singing. Officially named “Mamawi” which means “Together”, the room allows Indigenous patients to gather with family to perform traditional healing practices while in hospital. The room is located on level six of the Connell wing beside the elevator doors and is open at all times for use by KGH patients and their families.

“Our goal is to improve the services we provide for our First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients in a way that honours the Aboriginal path of well-being,” said Brenda Carter, Regional Vice President, Cancer Services, South East Regional Cancer Program. “The opening of this room is a significant step in building cultural awareness by showing our support and respect for the health traditions of our Aboriginal community.”

Aboriginal populations believe health is holistic and comprised of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being. Recognizing and embracing these cultural differences will provide a balance between the highly clinical world of a hospital and spiritual well-being for patients.

“It will make a huge difference for aboriginal patients to be welcome to incorporate traditional healing into what many feel is a daunting hospital setting.” said Dionne Nolan   “We want to support patients on their journey to healing so it is exciting to see that they will have a safe space, where traditional cultural values and beliefs can be practiced.”

The Indigenous room was also gifted with the healing power of art. Three local traditional artists Morris Blanchard, Deb St. Amant and Laura St. Amant unveiled paintings for the room to promote healing and well-being.

“Each piece represents one of our indigenous peoples, First Nations, Inuit and Métis. These paintings are meant to be therapeutic, calming to the spirit and we know this beautiful artwork will play a big part in creating a healing atmosphere in the new room,” said Deb St. Amant, a Métis artist from Trenton.

If you have any questions regarding Aboriginal cultural practices or are looking for more information on how the room can be used, please contact Dionne Nolan, Aboriginal Patient Navigator, South East Regional Cancer Program at extension 3851 or via email at noland@kgh.kari.net.

SERCP supporting our First Nations, Inuit and Métis patients on the path of well-being

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