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Ni-Maajitaamin / Let’s get started: The Ottawa Hospital holds ceremony to honour land and thank all Indigenous Peoples

Sept. 29, 2021 – OTTAWA – To mark Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also known as Orange Shirt Day, The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) will hold a ceremony at the site of its new campus to honour the land and respectfully offer thanks for the contributions, culture and traditional knowledge of all Indigenous Peoples.

TOH’s new campus, like our existing campuses at the General, Civic and Riverside will be built on traditional and unceded Algonquin territory.

The Sept. 30 ceremony will be led by Fred MacGregor, an Algonquin Anishinabe traditional teacher and knowledge keeper from the community of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg near Maniwaki Quebec.

Event details:

  • When: Thursday, Sept. 30, 9 a.m.
  • Where: Maple Drive at Birch Drive, Ottawa, ON

The event will include performances by:

  • David White Deer Charette, an Ojibway two spirit artist from Wikwemikong First Nation in Ontario. He grew up in Ottawa and has been singing and drumming since he was 12.
  • Tricia Monague, an Ojibway Jingle dress dancer from Beausoleil First Nations who has been dancing with medicine in the Ottawa area for the past 7 years. 

“The Ottawa Hospital’s Board of Governors is committed to creating a health-care institution that embraces diversity in all its forms and progresses steadily along the journey to reconciliation,” said Katherine Cotton, Chair of The Ottawa Hospital’s Board of Governors. “Our journey has been slow, but we are committed to engaging, listening and learning from Indigenous communities as we build the future of health-care right here in our city for generations to come.” 

A sign to acknowledge that The Ottawa Hospital is on unceded and traditional Algonquin land has been erected on the new campus, on Carling Ave. across from Champagne Ave.

The sign features Algonquin Ancestral Medicinal Knowledge – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter Series, original artwork by Algonquin artists Simon Brascoupé and Mairi Brascoupé, depicting traditional medicines through the seasons.

In developing the project for the new hospital, TOH will work closely with a newly formed Indigenous Peoples Advisory Circle, representing First Nations, Métis and Inuk leaders and advisors, to provide guidance on creating spaces that are safe and respectful for people of all cultures, at its new campus, as well as its existing facilities.

“Imagine a hospital that reflects the contributions, values and beliefs of first peoples, where patients can enhance their care with traditional medicines and practices,” said Marion Crowe, a proud member of the Piapot First Nation in Saskatchewan and the first Indigenous person to be appointed to TOH’s Board of Governors. “We have an opportunity to weave the unique and diverse needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities into the planning and construction of the new hospital development.”