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Modern and traditional health practices come together at new Shuswap healing centre

Click to play video: 'New healing centre to be built in the Shuswap'
New healing centre to be built in the Shuswap
Construction on a new health centre in the region is officially underway after a groundbreaking ceremony in the Shuswap. The facility will offer both modern and traditional health practices because, as Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, it will include a healing centre operated by the local First Nation. – Mar 11, 2024

A groundbreaking was held Monday morning in the Shuswap to push forward a project that is a partnership between the District of Sicamous and the Splatsin First Nation.

“It’s been in the works for quite some time,” said Sicamous Mayor Colleen Anderson.

The project entails a new, 15,000-square-foot health centre, which will be built on Main Street.

“We do have a medical centre right now but it is dated and what we’re doing is looking to the future, ” Anderson said.  “We’ve got our communities growing, the area is growing and as that’s happening, we want to be able to make sure that we are providing health care for our communities.”

The centre will be a medical hub and will include doctor offices and lab services.

Allied health professions, such as physiotherapy, massage therapy and chiropractic services, will also be available at the new centre.

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But the facility will also include a healing centre based on more traditional medicine and health practices.

“There’s going to be room inside the building for Indigenous healing processes and whatnot, so we’ll definitely have somebody in there, you know, doing practicing that, you know, the cultural healing sides of things,” said Splatsin Kukpi7 Mike Christian.

“There’s more of a cultural flavour to it spiritually, and like utilizing cultural medicines and whatnot, and … just the whole human  side of healing.”

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Indigenous think-tank criticizes lack of progress on reconciliation

The First Nation’s presence is considered by many an important step towards truth and reconciliation.

“It’s really important,” Anderson said. “We’ve got a memorandum of understanding and a friendship accord with them, so they truly have been great partners with us.”

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Christian called the partnership and the healing centre a good start.

“Sicamous has always been an area of our responsibility and we’re definitely interested in doing more here,” Christian said. “And this is…part of the whole reconciliation process that’s supposed to be going on in B.C. and across the country  and it’s a good start.”

The $10 million project is largely being funded by both the provincial and federal governments.

The district’s mayor said the new centre will help attract more medical professionals and boost health care in the region.

“The impact for us is just better health care for our community,” Anderson said. “I mean, it’s kind of been downloaded to communities. Health care is really a complicated issue now, so we’re super excited that we can take care of our communities.”

Construction will begin immediately. It’s hoped the facility will be up and running in about a year.

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