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Last week, Cowessess First Nation announced the uncovering of 751 unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. The identified graves are presumed to hold mostly Indigenous children, many of whom were buried without the knowledge of their families. This horrific news comes less than a month after similar announcements on the west coast. My thoughts are with the families, survivors, and all Indigenous peoples and communities as we continue to come to terms with the scope of this tragedy, and the truly shameful and racist systems that have been part of Canada's nation-building process. There will certainly be more discoveries like this one across the country — a painful reminder of what nation-building and the process of colonization have cost Indigenous peoples and communities. This moment highlights the need for ongoing work to grapple with historic and ongoing harm to Indigenous communities. Continued funding and searches to uncover the many truths that Indigenous communities have known and been sharing for years is needed now, and all of us must support these actions.
As stated in the Summary of the
Final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, "reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one. Virtually all aspects of Canadian society may need to be reconsidered," and that requires much more than just the acknowledgment of past wrongs. We all have much learning to do about our history, about its ongoing reverberations in Indigenous lives today, and about its impacts in fundamental areas such as health care. As a health care organization, we have a duty to work to actively dismantle the systemic anti-Indigenous racism that still exists in our health care systems — and at UHN, we are committed to working with the Indigenous Health Program to advance Indigenous health equity.
In response to COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.
Congratulations to Deborah Wilson on her retirement after 44 years at UHN! Deborah first started working at Toronto General Hospital (TGH) in 1977 as a Ward Aid. Since then, she has worked as a Housekeeper, Ward Clerk in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and a Coordinator in Critical Care at TGH. For the past 19 years, Deborah has been a Coordinator in the Division of General Surgery at TGH. Thank you, Deborah, for your service and dedication to excellence and care for UHN patients!
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