Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health

At the Wabano Centre in Ottawa, caring and professional staff are helping to build community among Ottawa's urban Aboriginal population through traditional healing methods and holistic health care. See how this modern medical facility prescribes culture for those feeling lost in the country's capital.

Transcript: Wabano Centre



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Transcript: Wabano Centre

Ottawa, the capital city of Canada.

… on a busy street not far from Parliament Hill, in a modest building, is where you’ll find the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health …

… The heartbeat of a growing and diverse community …

(In Mohawk) …welcome to Wabano

“And a very special welcome to Wabano, the Centre for Aboriginal Health”

“The Wabano Centre provides, integrated holistic health care to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in the city of Ottawa … it is … its mandate is to prevent … ill health, provide excellent primary health care and to provide, … family services …”

People within Ottawa’s diverse Aboriginal population feel at home at Wabano … where personal wellness is nurtured by a caring and professional staff.

Clients seeking medical treatment or advice have access to a First Nations nurse-practitioner on staff at the walk-in clinic.

Sometimes it’s easier when you connect with someone of the same culture and values and beliefs … and especially with traditional medicine, if … someone’s coming from the reserve into the city and they want that traditional aspect, then we have a place here for them to go to.”

The Cedar Healing Lodge within the medical clinic provides a peaceful atmosphere for therapeutic sessions.

Aboriginal counselors, Elders and traditional healers help clients deal with emotional, spiritual and mental issues in a culturally sensitive manner.

“Good medicine at Wabano is about the recognition that culture is the pillar of healing, and because culture is our strength, is the core of who we are, the centre also provides the environment where we can celebrate that culture.”

A variety of rich cultural programs compliment the complete life cycle from prenatal to the Elders … in an effort to build community among Ottawa’s urban-based Aboriginals.

“The circle of care is a program for seniors in our community, and it does a lot of different things … health promotion of course is a main priority, but it’s also there to offer support for our seniors so that if they need help with something they can call upon us, whether it’s to be connected with other services, or just to have friendly visits, or anything from carrying their groceries to just calling someone if they’re lonely that day.”

The Little Arrows afterschool program and the Wolf Pack are catered specifically to Wabano’s youth … kids are provided with tutors and support with homework, and participate in fun physical activities and cultural learning.

“The culture really is the lifeline for … especially our youth, growing up urban … it’s not as easy to find those cultural links … it’s easy to get lost in who you are, how you identify … so being able to have someplace in an urban setting, to go and learn to take part and to educate yourself … it makes it a lot easier.”

Throughout the day and long into the evening, Wabano’s staff, Elders and teachers deliver hands-on cultural programming for all ages … from courses to teach expectant moms the traditional art of making a moss-bag for their newborns, to language classes, and cultural reclamation workshops.

Wabano also provides vital services beyond its walls, with its Outreach programs … for Ottawa’s homeless Aboriginal people.

The Mobile Health and Addictions Outreach team regularly goes out, to care for people who can’t or won’t access help in clinics.

They work on the streets and in shelters, providing comfort and support wherever they can.

… Every Friday, Wabano holds the Biindighan lunch and drop-in program for its homeless members.

“What we’re trying to develop here is a safe place to come and have a nutritious lunch …

“… we have all our outreach staff here, we have our nurse practitioner, OW addictions worker, myself, addictions worker, our youth worker and a mental health addictions worker …

“… there is a meal … today we’re having moose, so they’ll enjoy that.”

At Wabano there’s a place for all Aboriginal people … to feel safe and strong … to achieve harmony and balance, and to reclaim and celebrate their culture …

… ‘A place of new beginnings’.