RVH Unveils Downie-Wenjack Fund Legacy Space

(from left to right) Kayleigh Jordan-MacGregor, Downie-Wenjack Foundation; Roxanne Shank, president, Barrie South Simcoe Métis Council; Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO; Theresa Sandy, Gladue Caseworker for Aboriginal Legal Services Roberta Manitowabi-Roote Indigenous Patient Navigator; Germaine Elliott, Executive Director of Mamaway Wiidokdaadwi Indigenous Interprofessional Primary Care Team and co-chair, Indigenous Health Circle; Dr. Matt Follwell, Chief of Oncology, RVH. (submitted photo)

Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), in partnership with The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, the Indigenous Health Circle and the Barrie South Simcoe Métis Council unveiled its Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Legacy Space, an installation in the health centre offering everyone an opportunity to pause and reflect on Indigenous history and reconciliation in Canada.

“RVH is the first public healthcare centre in Canada to install this Legacy Space which aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples,” says Janice Skot, RVH president and CEO. “The project was initiated by Dr. Matt Follwell, radiation oncologist and Chief of Oncology in RVH’s Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program to support reflection and education on Indigenous issues. RVH will continue to take every opportunity to further this conversation and support Truth and Reconciliation.”

RVH is committed to ensuring our Indigenous patients and their families have the best experience in our health centre through:

  1. Cultural competency training courses
  2. Medicine Wheel Teachings
  3. Development of a smudging policy
  4. Creation of the Healing Circle garden
  5. Educational videos on Creation and Indigenous Self-Identification

“I was passionate about bringing a Legacy Space to RVH as a welcoming symbol and something that can put people at least at ease that we’ve acknowledged the past traumas and are working together to move forward,” says Dr. Matt Follwell. “We have a long way to go and the Legacy Space will act as a catalyst on RVH’s journey towards Truth and Reconciliation.”

This is also Secret Path Week, a national movement commemorating the legacies of Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack and the journey we all need to take towards Truth and Reconciliation.

“I am honoured to be part of the team celebrating the launch of the first Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund Legacy Space in a health care setting,” says Indigenous Patient Navigator, Roberta Manitowabi-Roote. “This launch is an important step toward Truth and Reconciliation, providing space and opportunity for reflection and Indigenous cultural safety education for TEAM RVH.  I am hopeful that our commitments to reconciliACTION will inspire health centres across Canada.”

A livestream of the event is available here.

“We are so grateful to the team at RVH for creating the first Legacy Space in a healthcare setting,” says Sarah Midanik, president & CEO of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund. “The addition of this Legacy Space inside the hospital expands upon their deep commitment to reconciliation, and their important work in serving Indigenous people in Barrie, one of the largest Indigenous populations in Ontario.”

To learn more about the Legacy Spaces program please visit https://downiewenjack.ca/


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