Sacred Fire space opens on Earth Day at Oshawa Hospital

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Published April 23, 2024 at 12:11 pm

Lakeridge Health members and the Durham community joined in a special Earth Day celebration at Oshawa Hospital's Healing Garden for the lighting of the first sacred fire at a Durham Region hospital

Lakeridge Health officially opened a new Indigenous Sacred Fire space at the Oshawa Hospital on Earth Day – the first sacred fire at a Durham Region hospital.

The new Indigenous Sacred Fire space will provide an opportunity for Indigenous patients and families to access culturally appropriate services and supports, participate in ceremonies and community programming, and mark days of significance throughout the year.

“We honour the Earth as our Mother and give thanks to her for all that she provides to us to bring forth life,” said Kathy MacLeod Beaver, an Indigenous Navigator with Central East Regional’s Indigenous Cancer Program. “Lakeridge Health’s creation of a permanent place for the sacred fire provides a welcoming and supportive space for all, including Indigenous patients and families.”

Tim Smoke, Firekeeper at Alderville First Nation, was on hand to light, maintain, and watch over the sacred fire for the duration of the ceremony. Showna Smoke, Knowledge Keeper, also from Alderville First Nation, provided teachings on the importance of the sacred fire.

“We’re honoured to partner with the Central East Regional Indigenous Cancer Program and the local Indigenous communities and organizations to launch this important initiative,” said Lakeridge Health CEO Cynthia Davis, President and CEO. “The Indigenous Sacred Fire space is part of Lakeridge Health’s commitment to advancing inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and anti-racism within our organization and our broader Durham Region community, and to providing high-quality and compassionate care that respects the cultural and spiritual needs of patients and families.”

The Indigenous Sacred Fire space is located near the southeast corner of the Oshawa Hospital within the Healing Garden, outside the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre. Lakeridge Health is planning to install Sacred Fire spaces at all hospital locations across its entire regional system of care.

 

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