Indigenous

DJ blasts music from the parking lot for elders in Kahnawake hospital

With restrictions on visitors at long-term care facilities across Quebec, a son played music for his father and other residents at the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre from the parking lot.

With restrictions on visits, son played music for his dad while family members and staff danced

Family members and staff jigged for residents of the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre. (Mouchie Goodleaf)

Mouchie Goodleaf hasn't been able to visit his father in over a month.

His father is a long-term care resident at the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre in Kahnawake, Que. And since mid-March, the hospital has been closed to visitors due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's been hard for all of us," said Goodleaf about the family not being able to visit.

"Every day we'd go see him. The hospital calls us every week or FaceTimes us. I asked him if everything was OK, he said yes but at the end he cried. I think it's having an effect on all of the residents now because their family is not around anymore."

It's why Goodleaf, who has been a DJ for over 40 years and runs Mouchie's Mobile Music, decided to set up his sound equipment in the parking lot of the hospital this week.

He spent an afternoon blasting oldies, country, and jigging music for the residents who watched from a closed-in balcony. 

Family members of residents and staff joined in by dancing in the street. Some held signs with messages for their loved ones.

The hospital's executive director Lisa Westaway thanked Goodleaf for his gesture in the daily Facebook live done by the Kahnawake's COVID-19 Task Force.

"A whole bunch of people singing and dancing, and that was done for residents at the KMHC who were really overjoyed," said Westaway.

This is what residents and staff of the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre were surprised with this week when Mouchie Goodleaf set up his DJ equipment in the parking lot across from the hospital. (Lisa Skye)

"Many people who were listening and dancing were very overjoyed and overwhelmed. Some of the staff went outside, and we were all overwhelmed with the situation. It was really beautiful."

Zero COVID-19 cases

While long-term care facilities across Quebec have been hit hard by the pandemic, that's not the situation at the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre. There's been 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kahnawake, but the centre has reported zero confirmed cases in its inpatient department. 

For family like Goodleaf, while it's difficult not being able to see his father, the situation has been reassuring.

"You see how many of the elders have the disease, and it's crazy how people have died from it in those homes. Here, our elders are alive and safe," he said.

Mouchie's father, Angus 'Buddy' Goodleaf, was able to watch from inside the hospital. (Mouchie Goodleaf)

Goodleaf said that before the pandemic he'd regularly visit residents to play music for them. 

"My dad's been in the hospital for a year now, and about two to three times a month, I'd take my music and play for them inside," he said.

"It was awesome to see the reaction, and the response. I'd be going two to three times a month anyway, but we're going to do it again next week if the weather holds out."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ka’nhehsí:io Deer is a Kanien’kehá:ka journalist from Kahnawake, Que. She is currently a reporter with CBC Indigenous covering communities across Quebec. Email her at kanhehsiio.deer@cbc.ca.

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