The South East Regional Cancer Program (SERCP) in partnership with Kingston General Hospital recently invited indigenous community members from across the region to celebrate the newly opened Indigenous all nations healing room in the hospital’s Connell wing.
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.
“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.”
By partnering with patients, KGH recognizes and embraces the importance of providing 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 the SERCP’s Aboriginal Patient Navigator, 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.