HONOUR - Elder Wilson Okeymaw

Video: First ever Cree Naming Ceremony in an Alberta hospital takes place

Ceremony held in Red Deer on Wednesday afternoon

  • Apr. 19, 2017 10:00 p.m.

The first ever Cree Naming Ceremony in an Alberta hospital took place at the Red Deer Regional Hospital on Wednesday.

Elder Wilson Okeymaw, from Maskwacis, performed a Cree Naming Ceremony for Nicole Madsen, a registered nurse at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. About two months ago, she asked him to bestow an Indigenous spiritual name on her.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, after Okeymaw performed an honour song, a smudge ceremony and said a prayer for Madsen, she was given the name of ‘Bear Claw Woman’.

“As she goes on this new journey, she’ll bring the life and spirituality to her home, her husband, her kids and they will be protected. She will literally see changes happening,” he said.

Okeymaw leads weekly smudge ceremonies at the Red Deer Regional Hospital, which is open to anyone to attend. He said he wants to develop a stronger bond with the healthcare system.

“I hope this can continue,” he said.

Okeymaw said the Cree name for Madsen came in a dream. “When she first approached me when she gave me protocol, a couple of names kept flashing. And I asked last night, tell me what her name should be,” he said.

Madsen said personal growth led her to request a Cree name.

“Last year had been a really emotional year spiritually for me, from family to work aspects, and I was seeking support and some spiritual guidance. I initially came to the smudges. I really connected to the smudging. I felt calm afterwards, literally aches and pains I had disappeared in my hands,” she said. “I was drawn to come back and I felt I had to learn more. I am Métis and so it’s part of my heritage but I have never been guided to know it.

“I’m in a place in my life that I can do that and guide my own path and choose where I want to go and this is part of where I felt led to. It’s a new chapter of my life I can embrace and be proud of.”

The Indigenous Health Program partners with Indigenous peoples, communities and key stakeholders to provide accessible, culturally appropriate health services for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people in Alberta.


Just Posted

City council approves operating budget to a tune of $364 million

The 2.02% hike includes 1% for capital investment and 0.11% for the carbon tax

Province not providing aid to Red Deer for its June storm

Cause of storm wasn’t ‘extraordinary’ according to province

UPDATE: Two taken into custody after shots fired in Riverside Meadows

Red Deer RCMP believe incident was targeted attack

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates present visions to Red Deerians

Party members will vote for their new leader on Feb. 7th

City sells former RCMP building, land to province

Construction of new courthouse in Red Deer one step closer to reality

WATCH: Lacombe and Red Deer Chambers prepare members for cannabis legalization

Luncheon speaker educates businesses on marijuana policies

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Suspected Toronto serial killer targeting gay community arrested

A 66-year-old man is charged with first-degree murder in disappearance of two Toronto men

Barenaked Ladies, Steven Page, to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Canadian band to get top honours at 2018 JUNO Awards

B.C. out of the running for Amazon’s next headquarters

Toronto is the only Canadian city left in the running despite the province backing Metro Vancouver’s bid for new Amazon headquarters

Post interest rate hike debt tips

What to do about your debt and mortgages after the interest rate hike

Foreign workers sleeping in Alberta Burger King basement

Alberta Health Services said its inspectors found foreign workers sleeping in the basement of the Lethbridge restaurant

Most Read