Windsor

Partnership aims to honour Indigenous cultural traditions at Windsor hospitals

Members of the Chippewas of Kettle And Stony Point First Nation in Lambton County have been discussing palliative care with the Windsor Regional Hospital.

Traditional practices can include smudging and prayers

A child holds a bowl with burning sage — called smudging — a traditional practice for some Indigenous communities. (Martha Troian/CBC)

A new partnership between the Windsor Regional Hospital and Indigenous groups in the area is aimed at helping people honour their cultural traditions when a loved one dies in hospital.

Members of the Chippewas of Kettle And Stony Point First Nation in Lambton County have been discussing palliative care concerns with the hospital.

Marja George, a community health nurse on the reserve, said many there prefer to have other Indigenous people work with them during end-of-life care because they are familiar with important rituals.

Marja George. (Marja George/Facebook)

"We tend to understand and respect our traditional practices and traditional cultural activities, and that might be from medicine such as smudging, with special prayers to the creator and our ancestors," she explained.

If someone is in care in Windsor, George said she might help in a discussion about whether the person would be able to die at home to ensure they can follow Indigenous traditions.

"We believe it takes four days after death to travel to the spirit world," she explained. "In certain cultures and families, we want a fire lit immediately after a death to signify the passing of a loved one."

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