October 26, 2022
Patients and families arriving to the Royal Alexandra Hospital will be met by a newly-painted Truth and Reconciliation crosswalk honouring Indigenous peoples. Dorothy Anderson, a senior advisor with the Indigenous Wellness Core, says she hopes it will be first of many to be proudly displayed at AHS facilities across the province. Photo by Sharman Hnatiuk.
The Royal Alexandra Hospital recognized National Truth and Reconciliation Day by unveiling of a new crosswalk honouring Indigenous peoples. The event included representatives from local Indigenous communities including speakers, drummers, dancers and singers to celebrate the strength of Indigenous peoples, their families and communities. Photo by Sharman Hnatiuk.
Story & photos by Sharman Hnatiuk
EDMONTON — Mother nature’s warm, mild climate in late September helped ensure a new crosswalk honouring Indigenous peoples — the first of its kind at an Alberta Health Services (AHS) facility — could be painted at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (RAH) in time to recognize the second annual National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.
The day before, representatives from local Indigenous communities, including drummers, dancers, and singers, were invited to join patients, families, staff and physicians celebrate the unveiling of a new Truth and Reconciliation crosswalk. Located at the main entrance of the Royal Alexandra Hospital, the crosswalk includes elements of three symbols taken from imagery used to represent AHS’ Indigenous Wellness Core.
“I think it’s beautiful,” says Dorothy Anderson, senior advisor, Indigenous Wellness Core. “It’s nice to see a major hospital in this province showing symbols of First nations, Métis and Inuit people. As a Métis woman, it gives me great pride to work here and see this.”
The Royal Alex, which has an Indigenous Wellness Core team imbedded into hospital services, has long been recognized as a major care hub for Indigenous communities throughout the province. Cultural helpers, with the support of Elders, assist patients and families in need of traditional healing practices while in hospital and away from the support and comfort of their communities.
“We want all patients and their families to feel welcome at the Royal Alex,” says Dr. Colin Peterson, interim facility medical director, RAH.
“The visibility of the Truth and Reconciliation Crosswalk at our front door is one way we can show our commitment to providing accessible, culturally-safe health services that honour Indigenous culture, beliefs and identities.”
While the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a time to recognize and reflect on the history and impacts of residential schools in Alberta, the event also included Indigenous performers and speakers to celebrate the strength of Indigenous peoples, their families and communities as well as the wisdom of Indigenous worldviews that have persevered.
“A lot of work still needs to be done between those who deliver health care and Indigenous communities,” Anderson adds. “We need to build that trust with Indigenous peoples so that they know AHS is committed to improving health outcomes for Indigenous patients.
“The visibility of this new crosswalk is one step in a long and steady path towards truth and reconciliation. I hope this crosswalk is just the first among many across AHS hospitals and facilities.”