Musqueam Elder Shane Pointe (Ti ‘ te-in) recently conducted a Ground Blessing for the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre at the base of the construction crane, the site of the future main atrium.
Steeped in Musqueam tradition, the ceremony served as an important reminder of the connection between spiritual and emotional well-being and physical health. The event was particularly moving amidst the busy, very physical activity of the construction site.
The Ground Blessing began with the laying of ‘tumulh,’ the Musqueam word for red ochre pigment, which represents the blood of Mother Earth in Musqueam culture. Elder Pointe noted that “blood is life.” This was followed by eagle down representing clarity of vision, as the eagle has great sight, both near and far. The owl represents wisdom in Musqueam culture and so an owl feather was laid next. The final item was a piece of copper which represents a conductor of positive energy and a mark of wealth – whether it be intellectual, physical or simply generosity of spirit.
After the blessing, Elder Pointe noted that this will be a “good place,” a place of help and refuge. He spoke of teachings from his mother about how the mind and mental health is the key to everything.
Elder Pointe then commended everyone on how they are coming together and doing their part. He also noted how he is honoured to be doing his part too, by offering his blessing and tradition. “I am so glad you are doing this – it’s awesome! And it’s awesome to be a part of it.”
Dr Soma Ganesan, Head and Medical Director for Mental Health, then offered Elder Point a gift in appreciation and commented on the importance of culture and tradition as we move forward into the future and how everyone who is close to the building will receive its blessing.