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Sacred Fire lit in honour of Indigenous Peoples Day

June 20, 2023

Audience members grab tobacco. Audience members grab tobacco. Presenter at the event. Audience members and presenters at the sacred fire event. Onlookers smile as they watch the event. Kristen Winter. Red Bear Singers.

A sacred fire was lit at Sunnybrook’s Bayview Campus recently in honour of Indigenous Peoples Day.

June is Indigenous History Month in Canada and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day. It is a day for all Canadians to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

The event included a sacred fire and fire teaching by traditional fire keeper Anthony Gladue. Red Bear Singers, a group of singers and drummers who are residential school and Sixties Scoop survivors and descendants, presented three songs.

Each guest was also invited to put a piece of tobacco in the fire. Tobacco is a sacred plant often used in Indigenous ceremony.

Leonard Benoit, Regional Indigenous Cancer Patient Navigator for Toronto Central, provided an update on the Indigenous Advisory Council’s projects, and attendees were invited to drop into the Indigenous Wellness Space after the ceremony.

“This event today is a small way to take part in Indigenous History Month and Indigenous Peoples Day, and I encourage all Sunnybrookers to find other ways to learn, recognize and celebrate this Indigenous History Month,” said Kristen Winter, Executive Vice-President of People, Programs and Leadership.

Thank you to Leonard, the Indigenous Health Program at UHN, the Indigenous Regional Cancer Program, Toronto Council Fire, the Indigenous Advisory Council at Sunnybrook, and the Red Bear Singers for their support in bringing this event together, and for helping to create a safe and inclusive space for Indigenous patients, staff and community members.