Celebrating a Milestone in Bkejwanong Territory


Last week, WRH and the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer program had the opportunity to participate in a Relationship Protocol Signing between Cancer Care Ontario and the Bkejwanong First Nation.

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The event was held at the Governance Building in Bkejwanong Territory, also known as Walpole Island. The translation of Bkejwanong means 'where the waters divide.'

At the event, CEO David Musyj brought greetings on behalf of Windsor Regional Hospital and the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program.

"Today, in this beautiful place 'where the waters divide,' we stand united with a common goal of addressing the impact of cancer," Musyj told the group of community members and healthcare providers who attended to recognize the event.

The protocol will help guide the relationship between the parties going forward, and is the result of different organizations, including WRH and the Bkejwanong community, working together toward a common goal.

This work started years back when in 2011, Cancer Care Ontario offered Windsor Regional Hospital an opportunity to effect positive change for the under/never screened Indigenous population.

An Indigenous Coordinator was hired and for the next four years, supported by Cancer Care Ontario and the University of Windsor, WRH worked with 12 Indigenous communities to establish relationships and build trust. As a result, Indigenous participation in cancer screening increased. But this was just the beginning.

In 2013, the hospital received funding to hire an Indigenous Patient Navigator. Audrey Logan of the Delaware First Nation has worked in this role ever since. With her guidance, Windsor Regional Hospital works closely with Indigenous and non-Indigenous community partners to remove barriers and strengthen relationships.

Some of that recent work includes:

  • Hosting an indigenous Expo at both hospital campuses to promote culturally appropriate programming.
  • Developing a new Indigenous Traditional Practice Protocol policy to better accommodate requests for Indigenous Ceremonies.
  • Partnering with the Bkejwanong Community and the Southwest Regional Cancer Program to host a "Unity Cancer Conference" on Walpole Island.

The signing of the protocol formally recognizes the important partnership between Cancer Care Ontario and the Bkejwanong Territory.

The protocol outlines principles of how the parties will work together going forward to address common cancer priorities.