The QHC team commemorated the first annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, by participating in Orange Shirt Day and attending a live Zoom awareness event held by QHC's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee.
The day was an opportunity for staff across QHC hospitals to reflect on the tragic history of more than 150,000 First Nations, Metis and Inuit children forced to attend residential school systems in Canada between the 1870s and 1997.
Stacey Daub, QHC’s President and CEO, opened the live Zoom session and expressed the importance of the day as an exceptionally important milestone in the journey of reconciliation across Canada.
For QHC, Stacey voiced that the day is an opportunity to start opening up hearts and minds and social consciences to issues as an organization, and as individual human beings, which she felt is a, "really powerful thing to do together as a collective."
Susan Barberstock, Director, Community Wellbeing, Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Health Centre, shared the importance of relationships in the process of reconciliation.
"Relationships are key, relationships are about trust building," said Susan. "Relationships don't happen overnight," she continued. She expressed the importance of reaching out and leaning on each other for support to build relationships.
Susan went on to share key points of the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report, which contains a number of calls to action about changes in thoughts and behaviors to advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.
One key point calls upon those who can affect change within the Canadian healthcare 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.
Susan discussed how Aboriginal health is holistic and includes physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural aspects of life and that, working together, we can make QHC a culturally safe space for the Indigenous populations.
Following the showing of a video called "Phyllis Webstad - On Orange Shirt Day," participants engaged in discussion, with some excellent commentary from some of QHC’s staff members about what we can do to be more understanding and inclusive of Indigenous communities.
Judy MacDougall, QHC’s Manager of Organizational Development, closed the session, asking staff to contact the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte for outreach opportunities and to learn more about Indigenous needs. Judy also made note that the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee is looking to grow and develop cultural safety training. To get involved in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, please contact Judy.
Many QHC staff members wore orange shirts on September 30th to honour residential school survivors and those who didn't make it home. #everychildmatters