The Indigenous Community Healing Space at HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital will provide families with a safe space for healing while they’re away from their home community and cultural supports.
The project is led by Dr. Melanie Morris, the first and only Indigenous pediatric surgeon in Canada, who was appointed as the first lead of Indigenous Health at HSC Children’s in 2019.
Approximately 50 per cent of kids treated at HSC Children’s are Indigenous, including many from remote and Northern communities. In Manitoba, Indigenous children are three to five times more likely to be affected by several diseases/conditions. The incidence and prevalence of diseases such as diabetes, circulatory (heart) and respiratory diseases (Pediatric TB), and some cancers are increasing in Indigenous children to a greater extent than non-Indigenous children. These diseases require long-term care with specialist teams, which often means visiting the hospital for years. HSC Children’s has committed 2,000-sq-ft for the Indigenous Community Healing Space. This space is designed to be a place where children and families feel safe, connect with each other, and nurture their whole self – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
The new Indigenous Community Healing Space will feature:
- Design elements that reflect Indigenous culture, spirituality and worldview
- Space for traditional Indigenous ceremonies, including smudging
- Place for Indigenous Elders, healers and Knowledge Keepers to support families in care
- Library space for Indigenous children’s books
- Comfortable breastfeeding corner for mothers
The project is led and imagined by Indigenous women in the hospital’s journey towards the commitment of realizing reconciliation. Recognizing the value of Indigenous healing practices and making them available for Indigenous patients where requested was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 22: We call upon those who can effect change within the Canadian health-care system to recognize the value of Aboriginal healing practices and use them in the treatment of Aboriginal patients in collaboration with Aboriginal healers and Elders where requested by Aboriginal patients. (TRC Action item 22) Consultation with Elders, community organizations and families is further guiding culturally sensitive plans for the Healing Space. Your support will help complete construction and furnishings, and provide funding for ongoing programming and resources.
If funding goals are achieved, additional dollars will be allocated to the area of greatest need.
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