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Last week, we launched and celebrated Signs of Welcome at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), an important milestone on our journey toward greater understanding and awareness of Indigenous cultures.
Signs of Welcome are permanent poster installations throughout our sites, featuring Indigenous art and the first sentence of our land acknowledgment statement: “It’s a privilege to provide care on lands that Indigenous peoples have called home for thousands of years.”
Through engagement with Indigenous communities, we heard that having specific touchstones at our sites would help Indigenous patients and their families feel like they are in the right place when they come to HHS. The Signs of Welcome, and our land statement were created in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, elders and communities.
“we hope they will help to build trust and comfort”
“We hope and believe that the message behind Signs of Welcome will resonate with everyone,” says Rob MacIsaac, President and CEO of HHS. “Most especially, we hope they will help to build trust and comfort for Indigenous patients and their families.”
During last week’s unveiling celebration, Chief Ava Hill of Six Nations of the Grand River reflected on the step forward that the signs represent.
“I want to applaud the organization for implementing the signs, and for making the effort to make the hospitals and all the facilities more culturally safe and sensitive,” she said.
The celebration was held at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre, and was attended by representatives of Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. You can watch the ceremony below.
In addition to being unique and beautiful artworks, the signs symbolize our sincere commitment to get better at listening to and learning from Indigenous patients and families. Another major milestone on this journey was last year’s opening of Makayla’s Room at McMaster Children’s Hospital.
The below land statement was developed in collaboration with the Indigenous community. Hamilton Health Sciences uses this statement at the beginning of ceremonies and events to acknowledge the history and culture of the land we live and work on.
We are privileged to provide care on lands that Indigenous peoples have called home for thousands and years. We recognize and respect the presence and stewardship of all Indigenous peoples as keepers of this land.
Learn more about Signs of Welcome.