Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation team unveils artwork

Press Release

Jun 26th, 2023

As part of Niagara Health’s continued efforts towards promoting a culturally safe environment, Indigenous artwork was unveiled on Monday, June 26 during an event at the St. Catharines hospital. The original artwork will hang in the St. Catharines Emergency Department (ED) with reproductions at the other hospital sites.

The piece, by Indigenous artist Delbert (JayR) Jonathan, incorporates a depiction of Turtle Island with the medicine wheel in the centre. The medicine wheel is a symbol recognizable to many nations and portrays the importance of balance among mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.

“The biggest thing when you look at this piece is the medicine wheel in the middle,” says Jonathan, a Mohawk artist from the Turtle clan who belongs to the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. He learned from, and was mentored by, a long generational line of artists within his family. “I really appreciate the opportunity to create this piece,” he says, noting the importance of a healthcare system that takes into account Indigenous Peoples and their experiences.

The artwork creates a visual identity for Niagara Health’s Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation team. It will also indicate a safe space and the promise of high-quality healthcare to all individuals.

“The integration of Indigenous artwork throughout Niagara Health will enhance feelings of safety and support,” says Charity Beland, Manager of Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation, “It will also signal that holistic approaches are available to Indigenous Peoples accessing care.”

“This unveiling is an important milestone in Niagara Health’s ongoing commitment to reconciliation and efforts to become a more culturally sensitive and inclusive organization,” says Lynn Guerriero, President and CEO of Niagara Health. “This artwork is a symbol of the work that’s been done as well as the work that lies ahead.”

Niagara Centre MP Vance Badawey, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, attended the unveiling Monday, calling it an important moment for healthcare in this country.

“We all recognize Indigenous peoples have not always enjoyed the same access to healthcare as other Canadians and that’s something we cannot allow to continue. Efforts like the one undertaken by the Niagara Health system that we celebrate today are a step in the right direction and proves there is a way forward,” Badawey says. “Reconciliation between our people may be a long road, but more and more, I am sure it will be a journey we will share in understanding the respect everyone deserves. I have to give credit to the Niagara Health system today for really showing leadership. It’s blazing a trail to ensure our Indigenous people feel welcome.”

Subsequent Indigenous artwork unveilings of the same piece will take place in Niagara Falls, Welland, Fort Erie and Port Colborne.


NationTalk Partners & Sponsors Learn More