On Thursday, September 30, 2021, we invite you to join us in observing Canada’s new, historic National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Foundation’s offices will be closed as we take the opportunity to continue to reflect on the role we can play in supporting culturally safe, welcoming and healing environments for all Indigenous children and their families. Because every child deserves the very best care possible.
The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba began its journey towards what we are calling reconciliACTION in 2019, when we reached out to Indigenous community members to listen and learn how we can best support them, their kids and their families in hospital. Since then, we have made significant progress, but continue to have much more to learn and to do.
“[The Indigenous Community Healing Space] sends a very powerful signal of corrective change to honour all the little feet that have walked these lands for thousands of years.” -Dr. Mélanie Morris, physician lead, Indigenous Health, HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital
Dr. Morris’s words illustrate the tremendous responsibility we have to not only honour those tiny feet, but to walk alongside them, in humility and in the spirit of reconciliation.
To date, the Foundation’s work towards reconciliACTION and this responsibility includes:
- Creating the Indigenous Advisory Circle (IAC), a group of leaders from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities across Manitoba who provide counsel on our activities, including informing key Foundation projects and programs through an Indigenous lens.
- IAC members leading staff and board training on the importance of reconciliation, including the KAIROS Blanket Exercise to build understanding of our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. IAC members also facilitate ongoing learning sessions for staff and board on issues facing families in hospital, like Jordan’s Principle. All Foundation staff are also taking the Indigenous Canada course offered through the University of Alberta.
- Inviting, recruiting, and appointing members of Indigenous communities across all levels of the organization.
- Collaborating with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs to raise funds and distribute a Spirit Bear-Dr. Goodbear mask to help protect Indigenous kids and youth from COVID-19, while also shining a light on Jordan’s Principle.
- Sharing input on reflecting Indigenous worldviews through art at HSC Children’s, including in the new Children’s Heart Centre.
- Participating in and learning about Orange Shirt Day each year with our colleagues at Children’s Hospital Research Foundation of Manitoba (CHRIM).
- Launching the fundraising campaign for the Indigenous Community Healing Space at HSC Children’s, which will provide families with a culturally safe space to heal away from their home and supports. More than $350,000 has been raised to date.
- Developing a Foundation-specific land acknowledgement through facilitated workshops to help build meaningful connections as Treaty Peoples.
- Supporting research teams at CHRIM, and their engagement with and commitment to Indigenous communities, including through exploration of health equity and structural inequalities facing Indigenous kids and families.
- Sharing our experiences with Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations and member corporations on engagement and relationship-building to help encourage all Canadian pediatric facilities and leading companies to honour Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, particularly #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.”
The Foundation will continue to advance our work towards reconciliACTION under the guidance and direction of the IAC, to honour all the little feet that have walked these lands for thousands of years.
Let’s make anything possible.
Stefano Grande, president and CEO
Zoë Richardson, chair
Rebecca Chartrand, chair, Indigenous Advisory Circle
Dr. Patricia Birk, provincial specialty lead, pediatrics and child health, Shared Health; medical director, HSC Children’s; department head, pediatrics and child health, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba
Dr. Terry Klassen, CEO and scientific director, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba
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