New Indigenous Health Navigator to support culturally safe care for Indigenous children and families
Today is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, a day to reflect on the impact of colonialism and the Residential School system on Indigenous communities and come together in the spirit of reconciliation. As an organization, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) remains committed to reconciliation and continues to learn about the experiences of Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
Indigenous cultural safety involves making our spaces, services and care safer and more equitable for Indigenous people by considering current and historical settler impact and seeking to eliminate structural racism and discrimination. SickKids is working to advance culturally safe care with a focus on supporting Indigenous patients and families and staff.
Led by the Indigenous Health Council, SickKids recognized the day today with a Land Acknowledgement and Welcome Ceremony on the 555 University Avenue lawn, and hosted several educational activities with the goal to support critical reflection and learning. At the Welcome Ceremony, President and CEO Dr. Ronald Cohn asked attendees to reflect on the day and provided an apology on behalf of SickKids for harms inflicted on Indigenous communities.
"Reconciliation begins with truth, and it is important that we acknowledge SickKids’ role as an institution. The nutritional experiments led by Dr. Frederick Tisdall on behalf of the Department of Indian Affairs of Canada, between 1942 and 1952, withheld essential vitamins from malnourished children who needed them in Indigenous communities and residential schools. SickKids takes responsibility for having allowed this unethical research to occur," he said. "Historically, drug testing had been disproportionately imposed on Indigenous families in the provincial child protection system and in legal proceedings. We recognize and regret that the issues identified with Motherisk Drug Testing Lab potentially had a greater impact in Indigenous communities. On behalf of SickKids, I offer an apology to Indigenous Elders and communities for these harms."
Supporting patients and families through the Indigenous Health Navigator
As part of our efforts to provide culturally safe care, SickKids is pleased to introduce Bryant Peters in the inaugural role of Indigenous Health Navigator and Patient Experience Specialist. The role aims to support Indigenous patients and families navigate health-care services at SickKids through Indigenous ways of knowing and healing. This milestone aligns with one of the six priorities outlined in SickKids’ Indigenous Health Strategy, which aims to enhance culturally safe care for Indigenous patients and families.
Bryant has a deep understanding of Indigenous experiences navigating the health-care system, and the impacts of anti-Indigenous racism in health care, bringing with him knowledge and experience with traditional medicines, ceremonies and Anishinaabe protocols.
“My name is Bryant Tyson Peters. I am part of the Anishinabek Nation from Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation Manitoba. I am a proud father of a SickKids child. I have been an educator specializing in efforts to enhance learning through the utilization of Indigenous ways of knowing and being throughout the region, working within the areas of justice, social work, and post-secondary education. Living in Peterborough - Nogojiwanong located on the Michi Saagiig and Chippewa, traditional territory a part of the Williams Treaties, numbered Treaty 20 territory, I have been a consultant, working with surrounding communities initiating and developing programs such as programs targeting addictions. I have also been a College Instructor at Fleming College where I teach Indigenous Studies, which has been my honor to do since 2018. I look forward to meeting you. Miigwetch.”
If you identify as First Nations, Inuit or Métis, Bryant can help you by:
- Having traditional Indigenous healing ceremonies with you at the hospital
- Connecting you to Elders and healers for spiritual and emotional support
- Giving you information about health services and local community resources (such as sweat lodges and sacred spaces)
- Explaining how to report concerns about care and services
- Helping to report and address your concerns about care and services
For more information about the actions that SickKids is taking to ensure accessible, culturally safe care and services for Indigenous children and families, please visit the Indigenous Health Strategy webpage.