While the theme of reconciliation was woven through the events hosted at CAMH on June 19 in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, another theme was also always present.
That theme was “hope.”
It was alluded to during the morning’s “Honouring Our Ancestors” welcome at the Ceremony Grounds. It was mentioned more than once during the morning’s panel discussion, “How can CAMH respond to the calls to action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report?” And hope was felt in the drumming, song, dance and regalia of the Pow Wow that inspired and entertained staff, patients and the community throughout the afternoon.
“I certainly feel that it’s hope that brings me here today and every day,” Dr. Renee Linklater, Director of CAMH’s Aboriginal Engagement and Outreach, said during the morning’s panel discussion. “At CAMH, I have hope that we have colleagues who are going to work together around reconciliation. It’s not that it’s easy all the time but it’s important and rewarding work.”
The day started with a Ceremony led by CAMH Elder Cynthia White that included a sacred fire, traditional song and offerings to the ancestors, helping to set the tone for the day’s events.
“We’re working and we’re helping our patients but we do a lot of healing ourselves, too,” said Lisa Wabange, a Regional Aboriginal Training Coordinator for Aboriginal Workforce Development, Aboriginal Engagement and Outreach, who attended the Ceremony. “This ceremony is a reminder of what we do. We’re always healing and working and growing.”