Elder Roberta is of Coast Salish heritage and a survivor of the foster care system when she was separated from her family at the age of six. She was prohibited from practicing anything related to her culture and language, but was able to overcome this trauma to reconnect with her roots later in life. Elder Roberta now helps others heal with traditional practices and ceremony.
I am an Elder in the Indigenous Health program.
It’s been many years. I’ve been working with the hospital for a while now that I cannot pinpoint an exact number.
I am called to any of the many wards within the hospital to share and practice ceremony for the babies, children and loved ones of these babies and children. I provide spiritual and emotional support to families going through the happiest and saddest moments.
Former challenges I have encountered was the non-awareness of my role as Elder and now today I feel that people are more welcoming towards me as Elder.
I find it most rewarding when families feel supported by my presence and unconditional love that I exhibit to each one of them on their journey at the hospital.
Reconciliation, to me, means that people need to hear the truth first and there is no reconciliation without hearing the truth. This truth needs to be shared in a good, kind and respectful manner in order for healing to take place in this vast country, we now call, Canada. Thanks for listening.