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'Letter of relationship' signed by GBGH, Indigenous reps

‘We hope that it signals the opportunity to strengthen and improve how we work together,’ said executive director of Indigenous primary care

During a day of recognition and celebration, a signing ceremony took place on the lower patio of Georgian Bay General Hospital.

Lynn Monague-Sauve, president of the Barrie Area Native Advisory Circle, signed a letter of relationship along with interim president and CEO of Georgian Bay General Hospital Matthew Lawson, to commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day and Indigenous History Month.

While many organizations held National Indigenous Peoples Day events on the actual day (June 21), GBGH opted to change its event from Tuesday to Wednesday at the request of the hospital's Indigenous patient navigator as "June 21 is a holiday for many Indigenous peoples."

Added Lawson of the signing: “What we signed is a letter of relationship that really lays the groundwork for improving how we integrate cultural awareness and cultural safety in our organization.

“To make sure that Indigenous, First Nations, Métis individuals have culturally appropriate care here, and that they’re supported when they are in the building and as they transition back to their communities.

“It’s an important building block in terms of building a stronger relationship between the hospital and those communities,” Lawson added.

Germaine Elliott, executive director for Mamaway Wiidokdaadwin, echoed those thoughts.

“Signing this letter of relationship is the first step for what we hope is a long-term relationship,” Elliot remarked. 

“We hope that it signals the opportunity to strengthen and improve how we work together. And together, to work out any issues, any problems, whether it’s with access or patient concerns, or in how the actual service is being delivered.

“We always strive and hope that our partners will work with us to provide culturally safe care, culturally appropriate care, and so we hope to do that through this letter,” said Elliot.

The event was filled with speakers, teachings, drummers and dancers in regalia, food and vendors.

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Derek Howard

About the Author: Derek Howard

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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