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A land acknowledgement that honours the land and the medicines it provides

The Ottawa Hospital’s land acknowledgement sign with artists Simon Brascoupé (left) and Mairi Brascoupé (right) in the foreground

Visitors to The Ottawa Hospital are now greeted by a prominent land acknowledgement, which has been installed by the main entrances at each of our three main campuses.  It is paired with artwork by Simon Brascoupé and his daughter, Mairi Brascoupé, both from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg.

The artwork depicts three medicinal plants that are still used today. The aesthetic is inspired by ancient Algonquin birchbark cut-outs which were used as templates for decorating birchbark baskets in vibrant colours that represent the four seasons.

The land acknowledgement installations are a visual reminder that The Ottawa Hospital is located on traditional and unceded Algonquin territory and of the traditional medicines the land provides. Acknowledging the land is part of The Ottawa Hospital’s work of reconciliation and to foster welcoming spaces for First Nation, Inuit and Métis patients and their families.

Watch as Simon and Mairi Brascoupé describe what this project means to them, and how they hope their artwork will help create a culturally safe hospital for everyone.

The same artwork was installed in 2021 at the site of the new campus. First Nation, Inuit and Metis partners are helping to guide the design and development of the new hospital through the work of the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Circle, including helping to identify opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to participate throughout the development of the project and into the future.  

In this video, Simon and Mairi explain the meaning behind their artwork and the importance of acknowledging the offerings of the land and the integration of Algonquin medicines in helping create culturally safe spaces in health care.

Simon Brascoupé (left) and Mairi Brascoupé
Simon Brascoupé (left) and Mairi Brascoupé

Simon, who also has artwork on display at The University of Ottawa Heart Institute, knows first-hand the power of incorporating Indigenous artwork into health-care spaces.

“I got a call one day from a First Nation person in Alberta,” Simon recalls. “He told me that he had had a heart attack when he was visiting Ottawa and was treated at the Heart Institute.  He said that he saw my artwork there, and that he felt that it was part of his healing journey.”

Simon's artwork at the Heart Institute
Simon’s artwork at the Heart Institute

The Ottawa Hospital Land acknowledgement

The Ottawa Hospital acknowledges it is located upon the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin people and respects the traditional knowledge and healing developed over generations. We have the privilege and responsibility to serve First Nations, Métis and Inuit of many backgrounds and from many treaty and non-treaty lands and territories and to demonstrate respect for the contributions and cultures of Indigenous Peoples.


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