Vancouver Coastal Health mad e a decision to rename Powell River Hospital to Qathet General Hospital in the name of “reconciliation”.
According to a news release from Vancouver Coastal Health, in partnership with with the local Tla’amin Nation held a renaming ceremony.
Vancouver Coastal Health has officially renamed the hospital in Powell River to qathet General Hospital in the spirit of reconciliation. The hospital serves the qathet Regional District and surrounding rural areas.
Last year the First Nation submitted a request to the health authority looking to change the name to a “culturally appropriate” name for the acute-care facility. in the statement they also noted the Powell River was named after a government official in the 1800s who promoted policies “that continue to cause harms to Indigenous peoples today”
“This is a welcome announcement and I appreciate the spirit and work of reconciliation behind it,” said Powell River–Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons. “We need to ensure health care is delivered in a culturally safe environment, and this includes taking steps to reflect the history of the place and the people who live there.”
“We would like to extend our immense gratitude to Tla’amin Nation, elders and community members for their invaluable collaboration and partnership as we continue along our journey towards respectful and meaningful reconciliation,” said VCH CEO Vivian Eliopoulos.
Tla’amin Nation executive councillor Dillon Johnson commended VCH for agreeing to the change and “demonstrating how to advance reconciliation at the local level.”
The name change they say “addresses a barrier” to culturally safe care and “symbolizes a positive path forward,”
VCH will commission a Tla’amin artist to design a new sign for the hospital that will be installed later this year. – the word qathet, from q̓at̓ᶿət, means ‘working together, bringing together’ in Ayajuthem, the language of Tla’amin Nation.”
Racist attitudes in the health care system and obstacles to fair, culturally appropriate access were highlighted in a recent report commissioned by the B.C. government called “In Plain Sight.”