At the Spring Equinox, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health echoed to the sound of drumming as a spiritual naming ceremony was held to inaugurate the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health.
The name of the new institute symbolizes respect and solidarity between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians and reflects the organization’s goal to improve health outcomes for aboriginal communities.
Bryce refers to U of T alum Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce (BA 1876, MA 1877, MB 1880, MD 1886). As a government employee, he wrote a devastating report in 1907 on the tuberculosis epidemic in Western Canadian residential schools. When the report was ignored and Bryce shuffled to other positions, he left and published it himself in 1922: The Story of a National Crime called out the government for failing to save the lives of thousands of aboriginal children.
Waakebiness is an Anishinaabemowin name, given to institute benefactor Michael Dan by Kalvin Ottertail of the Lac La Croix First Nation. It means “Radiant Thunderbird from the South” and honours Dan’s efforts, as founder of Gemini Power Corp., to help First Nations develop sustainable, community-owned hydro projects.