Williams Lake First Nation hosted a smudging ceremony Tuesday, July 13, for the Cariboo Memorial Hospital expansion project in Williams Lake.
“I can really feel it in my heart, being here today, just standing on these grounds and envisioning what it is going to look like post-project,” said Kukpi7 Willie Sellars in a news release from Interior Health. “I couldn’t be more proud to be here to welcome you to the territory and participate in this blessing with our elders.”
The hospital is slated for a $217.8 million redevelopment.
When health minister Adrian Dix announced that Graham Design Builders LP was selected for the contract in April, he told the Tribune the final design should be completed by the fall of 2021 and the first ground-breaking will be in the first half of 2022.
The smudging ceremony was held in partnership with Interior Health.
“Elder Virginia, Elder Linda Narcisse, Kukpi7 (Chief) Willie Sellars and cultural co-ordinator David Archie performed a traditional song and drum,” stated the news release, noting they were joined by members of the WLFN, as well as representatives from the neighbouring Tsilhqot’in and Dãkelh Dené Nations, CMH staff and physicians, members of the CMH Redevelopment project team, Infrastructure BC and Graham Design Builders.
“This is a place of healing,” said Lisa Zetes-Zanatta, IH iexecutive director of clinical operations.
“My commitment is to make sure that we as a people, regardless of where we were born, have a place to heal where we are all considered equal, where we all have our culture, our background, and our rights respected.”
With files from Interior Health