As the work of Interior Health’s Journey to Aboriginal Cultural Safety & Humility team expanded over the last few years, program manager Vanessa Mitchell looked to Nation Elders for guidance. One of the Elders who helped shape this important work was Mollie Bono.
“We had the great pleasure and privilege to work with Mollie as a Syilx Elder Advisor from the Similkameen. It is important to me for the team to have a connection to the community for this work of cultural safety and humility within a colonial system is what I personally experience and deem as ‘hard work and heart work’, ” says Vanessa.
Mollie helped the team come together in a way that was deep and profound. Through their collaboration, they were able to create a collective vision of how to affect transformative change at Interior Health.
“Mollie’s impact was profound because she loved with openness and warmth, and believed in the people around her,” says Katrina Plamondon. Katrina provided program input and created the visual (pictured above) that continues to guide the team today.
From start to finish, Mollie was integral in supporting the Physician Cultural Safety Video project where Interior Health physicians were interviewed about their perspectives on Aboriginal cultural safety. Mollie ensured that the project was done in a good way – it was a sacred endeavor grounded in respect, ceremony, traditional wisdom and healing.
Interior Health was fortunate to benefit from Mollie’s amazing presence, her abundance of compassion and belief that the health-care systems that serve Aboriginal people could become safe and accepting places of caring. She called upon all of us to see people’s humanity and treat them with warmth, kindness, and love.
“She filled a room with love and joy, our hearts were always full after we shared time with Aunty Mollie,” says Stacy Turcotte, a former Educator of the program. “Mollie radiated wisdom and culture and had just the right amount of feistiness,” added Chris Macklin, a former Knowledge Facilitator of the program.
We are grateful for her time and contributions to cultural safety and humility.