Pottage was also being constantly nudged by the wife of one of the station’s paramedics. She saw the value in holding a cleansing ceremony at the station. In her words, she knew “all the stuff they deal with. And all the energy it can take from you.”
So in late December, at daybreak, Pottage welcomed a First Nations smudging ceremony at the Port Hardy Ambulance Station, with paramedics, a regional manager and members of the local First Nations.
By all accounts it was incredible.
Using cedar and hemlock boughs, the station bay, the ambulances, the doors and windows were cleansed. During the cultural ceremony any negative energy that might have accumulated was gathered up in the boughs. The boughs were then taken outside and burned, releasing the energy into the smoke.
It was an ushering out of the negative, said Pottage. It was also an invitation, he explained, to be blessed – to bring both physical and psychological strength to staff in the performance of their duties during the coming year.
The ceremony was reflective of a partnership between paramedics, the ambulance service and the local First Nations community.
“We really appreciate everything they do for us,” says Salla Sukow, who helped make it happen.
“Any way we can move forward makes our community stronger.”
Sukow shared a beautiful native word for the coming together of community and the care of paramedics – "Galgapothla," meaning to stand together holding hands.
Next year, Pottage says, he won’t have to be nudged to do the ceremony.