On September 29, to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation (NDTR), the Indigenous Health department, led by Nicole Cross | Noxs Ni’is Yuus, Vice President, Indigenous Health, hosted a grounding ceremony with the support of Clayton Gauthier.
Two hundred and fifteen sites from across the Northern Health region joined the virtual and in-person session. Elders living in long-term care facilities, alongside care providers and leaders were also able to listen in.
Jean Baptiste, Advisor, Indigenous Quality Control & Cultural Safety Response, Indigenous Health and Clayton Gauthier shared songs to honour Survivors and those we lost, and they conveyed a message grounded in love as we move forward. Messages about the importance of connection, humility, and bravery in our next steps together were emphasized. This is the first-time drums and songs were shared in these corporate offices, and they echoed through the floor.
Clayton Gauthier is a highly respected artist, author, and community leader, whose work is showcased at the University Hospital of Northern BC (UHNBC) in the beautiful mural welcoming people to Lheidli T’enneh Territory. Clayton’s work can also be found in bookstores throughout Canada, in projects throughout schools in Prince George, and most recently on the new NDTR jerseys for the Prince George Spruce Kings. We’re grateful he was able to share his time and gifts with us on this important day.
Noxs Ni’is Yuus shared two words shared by her aunty and Jiji to summarize the work ahead. First, drawing on the concepts of Sayt Kilim Goot (“we are all connected”) and that this work and the future will be built together as our actions and choices impact each other every day, she stressed that we must choose actions that support healing and understanding. The second was the word Minhukak’askw, which means “to make right together,” and is the work ahead for health care in the North.
In addition to the grounding ceremony, a virtual meeting background was also created for staff to use throughout the week leading up to NDTR and beyond. You can still download the virtual background and use it in your next virtual meeting.
A video message Noxs Ni’is Yuus was also shared out on September 30 and featured her three key sentiments and reflections on reconciliation.
Finally, staff were provided Orange Shirt Day buttons and encouraged to wear orange throughout the week.
Indigenous Health supports Northern Health in its commitment to build a health system that honours diversity and provides culturally safe services. Visit the Indigenous Health website to access resources and publications.