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Indigenous Wellness + Reconciliation

Hope finds a way

by Kris Wallace


When Alyssa went into labour on East Hastings Street, she was homeless and facing the challenges of a 10-year cycle of addiction.

She came to St. Paul’s Hospital to deliver her baby. And while her son was in the NICU, she began working with our Transitional Care Centre. Each day, she spent time with her baby while receiving care and support from her maternity team, the addictions clinic, and our Indigenous Wellness and Reconciliation team. When it was time to leave the hospital, she was supported in her transition back to the community.

Today, Alyssa has completed a long-term treatment program, she continues to receive support from our teams, and she and her little boy are together in their own home.

Namwayut. We are all one.

Namwayut is a Kwak’wala word that means “we are all one.”

Alyssa’s story is a poignant example of Namwayut and how we can nurture and heal the whole person when we bring our resources – and resourcefulness – together. Not only does this benefit Alyssa and her son, it benefits our entire community.

When you give to Lights of Hope, you support the work of our Indigenous Wellness team and you bring the essence of Namwayut to life in countless compassionate ways.

Healing space. Almost nine years ago, your support helped create BC’s first hospital-based All Nations Sacred Space for patients, families, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and caregivers to promote healing with traditional medicines, Indigenous cultural ceremony, and spiritual practices.

Traditional foods. There’s a reason we use the phrase “comfort food.” Your gifts mean Indigenous patients can draw comfort and healing from traditional foods that include bison, elk, salmon, and fresh berries.

Traditional medicines. Not all medicines are administered into the body. In many Indigenous cultures, holding or smudging healing items and can have powerful medicinal benefits. These medicines may include cedar, sweet grass, sage, tobacco, bear root, and lavender.

Indigenous Wellness Liaisons (IWLs). Providence has a specialized team of IWLs who support Indigenous patients and families through their health care journey and into the community (for example, providing connections to Elders). The IWL team also supports Providence staff members to embed the principles of cultural safety and humility in patient care.

Your gift to Lights of Hope brings holistic, culturally-affirming programs, services, and comfort to Indigenous patients and families across BC. Give today!

St. Paul’s Foundation is proud to fundraise on the on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, and K’ómoks (Comox) Nations.