Update on things happening in Rotary and indigenous communities, including current events – Rotary luncheons with guest speakers, open community and cultural gatherings, etc.



Barrie Examiner - July 15, 2014

RVH Meeting Aborignal Needs

To ensure the diverse needs of First Nations patients are being met, the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre is using the services of an aboriginal patient navigator.

This role, along with the already established role of regional Aboriginal cancer lead currently held by Connie Foster, supports RVH’s commitment to providing the best patient experience possible by addressing the traditional culture and beliefs of First Nations people.

“The Aboriginal people have experienced 500 years of oppression which has created a culture of fear. To come to a government institution - like a hospital - is to face that fear which often prevents them from seeking the help they need,” said Bergstrome, who is a member of the Métis nation. 

Now, when a First Nations patient walks through the doors of RVH, they are greeted by Bergstrome, the Aboriginal patient navigator, and walked through the system of care.

The position is just one element in Cancer Care Ontario’s (CCO) Aboriginal Cancer Strategy which strives to improve health outcomes and the quality of life for Aboriginal people with cancer.

Bergstrome provides and co-ordinates culturally and spiritually relevant support for Aboriginal patients and their families throughout their cancer journey.

“It’s not just the process of navigating the cancer system that is important; it’s doing so with respect for the original people of these lands and their worldview,” said Lindsey Crawford, vice-president, Patient Programs and regional vice-president, Cancer Care Ontario (CCO). “Leah uses narrative medicine, including history and stories, to support patients in their healing process, as well as the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. Having her here is in keeping with our My Care philosophy which put our patients and their families first and promises to provide them with the most positive patient experience.”

Bergstrome is the main contact for the people of Beausoleil First Nation on Christian Island; Moose Deer Point First Nation in MacTier; Wahta, Mohawks of Bala; Chippewas of Rama; as well as the urban Aboriginal population. She regularly visits these communities to build, or in some case re-build, relationships and trust in the health-care system. She offers patients support to access healthcare services at home, coordinates traditional and non-traditional resources and healing, provides counseling before, during and after appointments, is an advocate for the patient, and is there to ensure patients’ wishes are respected for end-of-life care.

 But most importantly, she is a friendly face when an Aboriginal person walks in the health centre.

“Just knowing there is someone here for them can reduce anxiety.  I’m a friend who can take their hand and walk with them along their path,” she said.    

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

There are two distinct events on Friday, July 11th, an on Saturday, July 12th.

"We wanted to announce that on Friday, July 11, there will be a public celebration
of the 23rd Anniversary of the Planting of the Tree of Peace. It will be the 23th
Anniversary of Kanehsata:ake when the SQ Provincial Police fired upon Mohawk Women,
Children and Men and ended 78 days later.

On July 11, 1991 an alliance of Londoners, both Native and non-Native came together
to plant the White Pine, which is the symbol for the Great Law of Peace
constitution. The White Pine symbolizes Peace, Power, and Righteousness as the
tenets of the oldest Peace, the oldest democracy in the modern world. The Tree of
Peace was planted by the Group, known as Wiich Ke Yig, which means "Friends Who Walk
With Us" in the Ojibway language. Language Carrier Dorothy Wassegijig-Kennedy
bestowed that name upon us, a Chapter of the Canadian Alliance in Solidarity With
Native Peoples, (CASNP), which Ojibway Elder Art Solomon helped us form in the
Summer of l990.

We strived to educate the public about the culture and identity of the Original
Peoples of Turtle Island. The White Pine is planted above Four White Roots of Peace
that extend to the Four Directions. Anyone who wants to live according to these
precepts of the Great Law are welcome to follow the white roots to the Origin of the
Tree, which lives in the Chairman Nation of the Haudenosaunee, the Onondaga Nation.

Underneath the Four White Roots are the Weapons of War, which were buried, so that
we will not bear arms ever again, in an act of war. We will use our Good Minds to
find the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms of life so that we never have to
pick up weapons again.


1-A 250-year-old promise to indigenous peoples still binds
The Economist, Jul 5 - WHEN King George III proclaimed in 1763 that
Canada's indigenous peoples had rights to their ancestral lands, it bought
peace with the locals who outnumbered and sometimes outfought the British
colonists. But as the balance of inhabitants shifted-indigenous people now
account for only 4.3% of the population-governments took an increasingly
narrow view of that promise. In some cases they ignored it completely.


1-Vaughn Palmer: First Nations title decision makes B.C. forest policy a
balancing act Vaughn Palmer, Vancouver Sun columnist, July 1 - VICTORIA -
While last week's Supreme Court of Canada decision on aboriginal title
raised doubts about the plan to pipe Alberta bitumen through B.C., the
more immediate impact is likely to be on the management of provincial
forests. The landmark title case originated three decades ago with a
challenge by the Tsilhqot'in people to provincially approved commercial
logging within their traditional territory in the central Interior.