“This plaque represents more than just a land acknowledgement. It is a tangible expression of our commitment to reconciliation and creating space for Indigenous patients, families and communities as the national voice of the medical profession. This also includes ensuring staff, board members and our partners understand the steps we are taking towards reconciliation and our ongoing invitation to join us on this journey.”— CMA Past President Dr. Alika Lafontaine.
The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) unveiled this land acknowledgment on June 21, 2023 — National Indigenous Peoples Day — to recognize the homeland of the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation. The art on the plaque, called Mino Mishkiki Kitigan, Garden of Good Medicine, was created by Miskomin Twenish, a self-taught Algonquin artist from Kitigan Zibi who is currently residing in Ottawa.
Staff and guests gathered for a special event to install the plaque at the CMA’s headquarters, marking this important milestone in the CMA’s journey of reconciliation. This formal land acknowledgment also serves as an opportunity for staff to reflect on the impacts of colonialism — both past and present — and how to engage in reconciliation in a meaningful way.
The CMA is grateful to the Algonquin community members who guided this process: Advisors Albert Dumont and Monique Manatch, Youth Representative Kyrstin Dumont, Algonquin Translator Kokum Shirley Odjick-Tolley, and Artist Miskomin Twenish. Their traditional teachings and leadership helped set the tone for this important step.
The CMA continues to work to advance truth and reconciliation. During the Fireside Chat series on Indigenous health, the CMA unveiled a long-term Indigenous health goal developed with a newly established Indigenous Guiding Circle. The CMA also announced steps toward an apology as the national voice of physicians for the harms to Indigenous Peoples.