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'People Who Help Others' receive special blessing

On a noisy Vancouver street, standing next to an ambulance bay which most days has continuous sounds of lights and sirens, Indigenous elder Shane Point quietly spoke a Coast Salish word to describe paramedics. He translated it as ’people who help others.’
Indigenous woman smiles during a ceremony at Vancouver's Downtown Eastside ambulance station for Indigenous People's Day
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His words and blessings were part of a ceremony at Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside ambulance station (Station 248) for Indigenous People’s Day where he called upon paramedics to listen. 

The poignant blessing included calling on ancestors to support those who work in ‘the helping house’: “I’ve asked them to come help you.”

The ambulance station was blessed at each doorway so paramedics working their shifts could leave behind the negative of their work and “pick up the goodness as they leave.”

In attendance were paramedics, the ceremonial BC Ambulance Honour Guard and organization leaders, but at the centre of the ceremony was Natalee Dennis weaving what she referred to as her ‘two worlds’ together. Dennis once worked as a paramedic out of Station 248 and is now based in Nanaimo. She is also a BCEHS Indigenous Patient Navigator.
 
Dennis saw the ceremony as a “start of a new path.” Drawing on the wisdom of her grandfather, she said you can’t compare yesterday to today, or today to the future: “But what you do today can change tomorrow.”

She shared her hope that those who attended can hold the day close to them, bring the light forward and extend it to others.
 
 
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