Port Hardy Hospital's Aboriginal nurse Margaret Wilson addresses the floor at the Sacred Room during a celebration for National Aboriginal Day.

Port Hardy Hospital's Aboriginal nurse Margaret Wilson addresses the floor at the Sacred Room during a celebration for National Aboriginal Day.

VIHA celebrates Aboriginal Day

VIHA hosts an early celebration for National Aboriginal Day at the Sacred Room at Port Hardy Hospital.

PORT HARDY—There was a full house at the Sacred Room at Port Hardy Hospital as VIHA hosted an early celebration for National Aboriginal Day.

VIHA’s Aboriginal Employment Advisor, Steve Sxwithul’txw, welcomed staff and community representatives to the event, before Chiefs Willie Walkus from Tsulquate and Stan Wamiss of Quatsino took the floor.

The Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Culture Group then performed a dance to the packed room and afterwards introduced themselves to the attendees and explained the formation of the group.

Sxwithul’txw then retook the floor to explain his work in encouraging aboriginal youth to seek employment in the health industry. His office provides resources to aboriginal youth, from resume building to bursary advice as well as education on the range of careers available in the health industry.

He also encouraged those already in the industry to self-identify to improve the availability of resources specifically aimed at First Nations peoples.

The floor was then opened with a number of people speaking on building relations and moving forwards in a positive way.

“Today we wanted to recognize our workforce and also to increase the numbers in work,” Sxwithul’txw explained.

“This is about bringing the community and staff together,” he continued, “it’s about finding that common ground.”

This sentiment was echoed around the room, with the aim repeated of taking small steps to build a bridge between the First Nations culture and the culture of the Health Authority.

After the great response to the event, there was a general consensus in the room that next year’s meeting should be expanded.

Anyone interested in Sxwithul’txw’s work can contact him at StephenSxwithultxw@viha.ca or check www.viha.ca/careers.