Thunder Bay

St. Joseph's Care Group opens new spiritual gathering lodge

Thunder Bay's St. Joseph's Care Group (SJCG) has officially opened its new spiritual gathering lodge as part of a commitment to work with Indigenous peoples, the agency said Monday.

Opening of Nigoos-aat-awin part of affirmation of commitment to work with Indigenous peoples, agency says

Benjamin Morrisseau with his work Spiritual Gathering, which is displayed at St. Joseph's Care Group's new spiritual gathering lodge, Nigoos-aat-awin. (St. Joseph's Care Group)

Thunder Bay's St. Joseph's Care Group (SJCG) has officially opened its new spiritual gathering lodge as part of a commitment to work with Indigenous peoples, the agency said Monday.

The lodge, Nigoos-aat-awin, is located at SJCG's Algoma Street facility, and is accompanied by a piece by artist Benjamin Morrisseau titled Spiritual Gathering.

SJCG also announced the appointment of its first director of Indigenous relations, Paul Francis Jr., a member of Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory

"We want Indigenous Peoples to speak about St. Joseph's Care Group as a place where they can access health care that is culturally-appropriate and safe, where barriers have been removed," Francis said in a statement Monday.

Monday's events were part of a week of celebrations leading up to National Indigenous Peoples Day, which is Friday, June 21.

Other activities planned for the week include smudging ceremonies at various SJCG sites, women's jingle dress teachings, and dance and hand drum teachings.

  "Indigenous peoples will define what actions we need to take using the Truth and Reconciliation Health Care Calls to Action as a guide for this important work," said Tracy Buckler, SJCG CEO.