Aboriginal Health and Healing Workshop, October 29-30, 2010
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On October 29-30, 2010, a workshop on Aboriginal Health and Healing, jointly sponsored by the Aboriginal Health Initiative, Memorial University, Faculty of Medicine and the Labrador-Grenfell Health Authority, took place at the Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The purpose of the event was to increase participant knowledge of the traditional healing practices of the First Nations, Inuit and Southern Inuit (NunatuKavut) in Newfoundland and Labrador and to heighten awareness of the historical and socioeconomic factors that continue to have a profound impact on the health of members of these Aboriginal communities. As indicated in the program, presenters at the workshop were elders representing various Aboriginal communities and organizations throughout the province, namely: Chief Mi’sel Joe, Miawpukek First Nation; Elizabeth and Francis Penashue, Sheshatshiu Innu Nation; Jean Crane, Inuit; and Ken Mesher, Southern Inuit. Dr. Maura Hanrahan, consultant and award-winning author, provided an overview of the determinants of Aboriginal health. In addition to the speaker presentations, participants experienced aspects of Aboriginal culture such as a sweat lodge, foods native to Labrador, and a performance by Inosuttuit Nipingit, Inuit Drum Dancers. Workshop participants included professors from Memorial University, Faculty of Medicine, physicians, medical students, and representatives from various organizations in Happy Valley-Goose Bay including the College of the North Atlantic. According to Dr. Carolyn Sturge Sparkes, Aboriginal Health Initiative coordinator, “the event sparked increased understanding of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal healing cultures and traditions, a significant step in building greater capacity for vision sharing and collaboration”.
The Aboriginal Health and Healing program (pdf)