Pictured above: From left, Sweat Lodge participants Holly Smith, Linda Mohri, David Cunic, Brian Edmonds, Dr. Catherine Zahn, Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, Damian Jankowicz, Rani Srivastava, Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam, and Cynthia White. Not pictured, Dr. Bruce Pollock . Cynthia and Holly facilitated the Ceremony for ELT.
It was a time to reflect, an example of the integration of Western and traditional medicine, and a tangible demonstration of the Sweat Lodge’s healing impact.
Those are just some of the thoughts shared after members of CAMH’s Executive Leadership Team participated in a Sweat Lodge Ceremony. Nine accepted the invitation from CAMH’s Reconciliation Working Group to participate, gathering in shorts and skirts on this cool morning in late October.
“I thought it was such a blessing to even have the opportunity to experience the Sweat Lodge,” says Rani Srivastava, Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice, who noted similarities to her own Hindu heritage. “I’m very interested in health and healing and especially different cultural ways of being. We in Western society don’t always understand the impact of culture and cultural identity.”
CAMH became the first Ontario hospital to operate a Sweat Lodge for traditional Indigenous healing and teachings in June 2016. The Sweat Lodge continues to be used to help people recover from mental illness and addictions, a healing journey that often includes traditional teachings as well as all the resources of the hospital.