Stefano’s Stories: #ReconciliACTION for Kids’ Health

June 2023

On any given day our doctors and nurses at HSC Children’s Hospital, tell us that upwards of 60% of kids visiting clinics, staying in hospital long-term, and receiving treatment are Indigenous. Children from First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities are three to five times more likely to be affected by many diseases/conditions.

Kids like Janessa, from the northern community of Pukatawagan, who needed a kidney transplant at age 12 when she reached stage four kidney disease. The surgery was a success, and now Janessa is thriving and enjoying her favourite activities like getting outside and dancing.

And research informs us that 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.

That’s why the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba is committed to #ReconciliACTION through projects that provide culturally safe care, like the Indigenous Community Healing Space.

The Healing Space will be created for families far from their support system. It will have Indigenous design elements, a library space with Indigenous children’s books, a place for Indigenous Elders, healers and Knowledge Keepers to support families in care and much more.

It’s a project led and imagined by Indigenous women in the hospital’s journey towards the commitment of realizing reconciliation and will be funded thanks to donors like you.

Donors like CAA Manitoba, a local organization aiming to make a difference for the community it serves.

These donors are so important, because they are helping set this important project in motion. 

On December 20, 2022, the eve of Winter Solstice, a ceremonial gathering was held with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and other Indigenous community members to build a framework for the development of the Indigenous Healing Space.

The Winter Solstice is traditionally a time to reflect on the past, rest and renew strength, and a time to hope, dream and set goals for future. In that spirit, these community members gathered, took time to reflect, think, share and plan the groundwork for moving forward on the Indigenous Healing Space with intention and consideration.

As a result of these discussions, two broader engagement sessions are being planned in 2023, to include:

This consultation process is essential to the creation and future impact of the Indigenous Healing Space. It demonstrates the value of voices and the spirit of community that are the heart of the space and the source of its ability to help in healing. This vital work is possible, because of donors like you.

Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba is privileged to gather, work, and care for each other on Treaty 1 territory, the ancestral homelands of the Anishinaabeg, Ininiwak, Anishiniwak, Dakota Oyate and Denesuline peoples, and the birthplace and homeland of the Métis Nation. Inuit from ancestral northern territories also make their home here.

As a champion of children’s health and wellbeing, we acknowledge the harms of the past, and promise to honour the children of yesterday, today and tomorrow, as we walk together with First Nations, Métis and Inuit on a path of reconciliation and healing.

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