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GBGH learns about Indigenous Community through Truth & Reconciliation Event

Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) recognized Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with an event at the hospital. Although GBGH observes Orange Shirt Day annually on September 30, this year presented an opportunity to plan a comprehensive event to increase awareness among its team members of the residential school system, and its impact on Indigenous history and culture.

“GBGH proudly serves a large Indigenous population at our hospital and we are continually striving to improve the care we provide to all members of our community,” says Gail Hunt, president and CEO, GBGH. “The more the hospital team understands the unique culture, beliefs and history of the Indigenous community, the better we can care for them with respect, understanding, compassion and empathy. It is very important for GBGH to offer culturally safe care as part of our role in reconciliation.”

Generously supported by Beausoleil First Nation (BFN), the event included an Every Child Matters flag-raising with Honour song, land acknowledgement, prayer and smudging ceremony, presentation by a residential school knowledge keeper, and drum and intertribal dance performances for staff, credentialed staff and patients. The event, which also encouraged the wearing of orange shirts, was planned in collaboration with BFN / GBGH Indigenous patient navigator Tricia Monague.

“Beausoleil First Nation is encouraged by the Georgian Bay General Hospital’s initiative to raise awareness,” says Councillor Jane Copegog, BFN. “We honour the survivors of the Indian residential school system, remember the children who did not return home, and we commit to meaningful action that will advance the promise of truth and reconciliation.”

As of the 2016 census, there were nearly 22,000 Indigenous people in Simcoe County, or 4.7 per cent of the population. The Indigenous population nearly doubled in this area from 12,985 in 2006 to 21,955 in 2016. Within Simcoe County, North Simcoe has the largest First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FMNI) population at 11.1 per cent. In 2020-2021 at GBGH, self-identifying Indigenous patients made up approximately 8.5 per cent (or 3,115) of Emergency department visits, and accounted for 2,203 outpatient visits (Ambulatory Care), 847 Diagnostic Imaging visits and 291 inpatient visits.

Cutline: On September 30, Georgian Bay General Hospital recognized Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with an event at the hospital. Generously supported by Beausoleil First Nation (BFN), the event included an Every Child Matters flag-raising with Honour song, land acknowledgement, prayer and smudging ceremony, presentation by a residential school knowledge keeper, and drum and intertribal dance performances for staff, credentialed staff and patients.

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