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Join Michael Garron Hospital on Oct. 20 for a COVID-19 memorial and condolence sacred fire
A message on behalf of Sarah Downey and Elder Little Brown Bear
On Wednesday Oct. 20, Michael Garron Hospital (MGH), members of The Aboriginal Healing Program and community members will offer a sacred fire at the Bear’s Den All Nations Traditional Medicine Sweat Lodge to honour and acknowledge community members of all nations living with the impacts of COVID-19.
Honouring our grief, celebrating life
COVID-19 has taken an emotional, mental, spiritual and physical toll on everyone, especially those working in healthcare and who experienced loss during the pandemic. With many restrictions in place, it has been difficult to mourn and celebrate loved ones and community members who made their way to the spirit world during COVID-19. While we continue to brave the fourth wave of the pandemic, it is important that we pause to reflect and commemorate all that we have been through and begin the healing and recovery journey together.
Our hope is to offer an inclusive space for community members to honour their grief and to acknowledge our gratitude for the healthcare workers and community members who made it off the ventilators.
Join us on Oct. 20 – here are a few ways you can participate:
- Sacred fire: Stop by the sacred fire at any time during the day or join the pipe ceremonies which will occur at 8 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Elder Little Brown, Director of Aboriginal Education, Programs and Culture and The Aboriginal Healing Program will lead the pipe ceremonies.
The pipe ceremony is used to open conversations between different nations and communicate with the spirits. The pipe is wrapped in a cloth bag and is usually part of a sacred bundle that is owned by the pipe carrier.
A sacred fire is an important part of spirituality and wellness. It is a sacred practice considered to be a spiritual doorway to communicate with our ancestors in the spirit realm. As part of this tradition, there is a firekeeper who maintains and tends to the fire. A sacred fire allows one to heal, feel grounded, and connect with community. (Traditional medicines will be available for those who wish to send prayers through the sacred fire.)
- Hand-painted intention board: All healthcare workers and community members are invited to share a personal and heartfelt message on the hand-painted intention board to commemorate their lived experience during COVID-19.
We are so proud of our healthcare teams at MGH and recognize how challenging the past 18 months have been on all of us – both personally and professionally. We hope you will join us on Oct. 20 to reflect on the impacts of COVID-19 and begin the important healing and recovery process of getting back to the lives we knew before the pandemic.
With gratitude, Chi Miigwetch,
President & CEO
Elder Little Brown Bear
Director of Aboriginal Education, Programs and Culture and The Aboriginal Healing Program