A pipe ceremony was held today to bless a renovated ceremonial room at the Parkland Integrated Health Centre in Shellbrook.
“Ayden’s Room” is a recently renovated room and provides a space to accommodate surrounding Indigenous communities’ cultural and ceremonial activities.
“We are very pleased that Ayden’s family, especially his parents Melanie Badger and Matt Matheson, have allowed us to recognize Ayden’s life in this way,” said Cecile Hunt, Chief Executive Officer for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. “We sincerely wish that we were in a better position to assist Ayden’s family during their time of grief. A tragic circumstance has led us to make important changes to ensure we can better meet the spiritual needs for the communities we serve.”
Early on the morning of February 20, 2016, two month old Ayden died suddenly. His death was pronounced after being taken to the Parkland Integrated Health Centre.
The Parkland Integrated Health Centre has a chapel area that can accommodate a smudging ceremony. However, the space is some distance from the Emergency Department and it could not be easily accessed.
Due to this incident, the family sought the assistance of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, to oversee the process of addressing the concerns expressed by the Badger family about the lack of facilities to accommodate Indigenous ceremony. Consultations between the Badger family, SIU, Mistawasis Chief and Council, Saskatoon Tribal Council, and the health region were held to address the issue. The outcome of these discussions resulted in the PAPHR renovating a room which will accommodate surrounding Indigenous communities’ cultural and ceremonial activities.
“The Badger family did not want any other family to experience such trauma during their times of sickness, loss and grief,” said Russel Badger, on behalf of his family. “This is the reason they decided that something must be done to enable the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region to better accommodate Indigenous Peoples’ cultural practices. Thankfully desirable results were achieved and relations between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Peoples will create understanding and hopefully create unity in the area.”
Earlier this year, renovations were made to a quiet room in the Emergency Department area of the Parkland Integrated Health Centre. The renovations included installation of a ventilation unit that will allow for ceremonies such as smudging to be held within the facility. The room will continue to be available for all patients and families who require a quiet space while at the facility.
“There was confusion, discussion, anger and the family was suffering from intense and fresh loss and grief,” Russel Badger said. “This was a very difficult experience for my family. However, we know that the staff members and the police were doing their job. I also believe this is now a better understanding and appreciation of the need for indigenous and all families to be able to meet their spiritual needs in moment of extreme grief.”
Hunt thanked the Badger family, the FSIN’s Special Investigations Unit, the Mistawasis First Nation Chief and Council, the Saskatoon Tribal Council, along with the staff members and physicians at the Parkland Integrated Health Centre for helping create a solution. Hunt also thanked the Northern Lights Community Development Corporation for their generous donation to help make the renovations possible.
For more information or to arrange interviews contact:
Doug Dahl, Communication Officer
306-765-6409 or 306-961-6217