An international network of Indigenous health researchers and knowledge keepers now have a home at Thomson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia thanks to a $1-million Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant.
Led by Dr. Rod McCormick (Kanienkehaka), BC Regional Innovation Chair in Aboriginal Health, the network provides Indigenous health graduate students and new researchers with opportunities to learn about traditional healing.
Called Ombaashi, an Ojibwe word meaning to soar upwards or to be lifted by the wind, this network of Indigenous research experts and mentors extends through Canada, Australia, Fiji, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, and the United States.
Through Ombaashi, Canada’s regional networks will provide international Indigenous outreach and opportunities, including online workshops in Indigenous healing, and workshops in Indigenous health research.
The development of Ombaashi is based on the Calls to Action within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report, which asserts that in order to affect change, Canada must recognize the value of Indigenous healing practices.
“If you’re going to work in Indigenous health you should have knowledge of traditional healing,” said McCormick, an international expert in First Nations mental health.