December 11, 2023

A two-hour drive to receive traditional and Western healthcare is worth the trip, says Laura Jean Flood.

She’s been a patient with Misiway Milopemahtesewin Community Health Centre for 21 years and made the trip from Matachewan to celebrate its 30th anniversary today (Aug. 21).

Misiway is celebrating three decades of providing traditional healing and primary care services to Indigenous communities in the region. It held a celebration today at the Schumacher Lions Club Park.

Building a community presence is key to the work they do, said executive director Constance McKnight.

“What I hope is that people will leave with a lighter heart,” she said. “I want to bring back a sense of community to the community.”

Part of that work included student volunteers who could be seen helping out with everything from moving equipment to cleaning up.

“It’s giving them a chance to be social and a chance to get some volunteer hours,” said McKnight.

Flood has been the president of the board of directors for the last 16 years.

The care the staff takes with their patients and balancing traditional and Western healing makes Misiway special, said Flood.

“People want more land-based care,” she said. “I think that getting that fit and working together when you have that Western and traditional care on it, that’s one of the biggest things.”

She is a member of Matachewan First Nation and lives in Matachewan. Flood’s mother was also a patient at Misiway and received unique care.

“Ojibway was her first language and they would take the time to make sure she understood,” said Flood. 

That sense of community filled the park with the sounds of children playing through the inflatable maze and rope course and the scent of barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers cooked by volunteers from Fountain Tire.

Dumas Contracting Ltd. was also on-site providing water to the people who attended.

“Taking care of our community, health-wise is very important,” said Tammie Gooch, human resources coordinator for Dumas. “We’re always looking for things to do in our community to give back and it’s a perfect opportunity to be part of a very important part of the health of our communities.”

With the success of the event, McKnight said they’re looking forward to more events in the future.

“This is the first year and I think if we continue to do this it’ll grow every year,” said McKnight.

Flood said that the future looks bright across the board for Misiway’s future.

“We’ve been working so hard on building everything else, but it’s nice to have the community come out and it’s part of who we are as a people,” she said. “I’d love to sit back in five years and see where we’re at because right now is a really exciting time for us.”


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