EXCLUSIVE: Family of Six Nations girl using indigenous medicine issues statement: “The stress our family lived until today was uncalled for.”

The Six Nations family who was being pressured to abandon indigenous and holistic therapies in favor of chemotherapy are celebrating today. The courts have acknowledged that, according to their...
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The Six Nations family who was being pressured to abandon indigenous and holistic therapies in favor of chemotherapy are celebrating today. The courts have acknowledged that, according to their law, to remove her from her family would be damaging to the child.

In response the family sent the following statement to the Two Row Times. Here it is in it’s entirety:

“A few months ago the Haudenosaunee way of life was put on trial. The use of traditional medicines was brought into question by McMaster Children’s Hospital when [the child] and family chose to discontinue chemotherapy.

We understood immediately that the hospital’s choice to take their inability to control into the courts to have Canadian law to judge our very existence as valid or invalid was going to have much broader affects than on our individual rights. Despite our refusal and objections to enter into Canadian judicial proceedings the case continued.

The support of the traditional system was sought out but the issue didn’t get attention it deserved. There is clearly a breakdown in the manner issue enter and flow through the traditional system.

The courts also preceded through our Big Green Corn ceremony, Karihwi:io and the death of an important figure in our society. It was disappointing that no one asked the courts to pause during these times because that is a societal norm for the Haudenosaunee. A teachable moment for Canada was not recognized and capitalized on.

The stress our family lived until today was uncalled for. We offered McMaster the role of monitoring [the child’s] condition while we carried out our choice of healthcare. At no time have we or will we compromise [the child’s] wellbeing. Safe guards such as the monitoring of her blood work was always part of our care plan. The impressions given by McMaster and most media was very dishonorable half truths.

[The child] has blood that proves amazing responsiveness to the treatment we are using. We are happy with the results and will continue to monitor her.

NIAWEN to Elva Jamieson, Joseph Victor Mispounas, & Hippocrates Health Institute. Much, much gratitude and appreciation goes out to the many people and businesses who opened their hearts to support us when we needed them.”

Nahnda Garlow, Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations, is our Arts & Culture editor. Her popular column, Scone Dogs and Seed Beads brings weekly thoughts on current day indigenous identity. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado.

Most Recent Article: Haudenosaunee mark Treaty at the White House

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  • Teel

    With all respect, I came upon the EuroAmerican version of this issue by chance. I am not of your clan nor your nation, in honesty I am “purged” from my own nation, losing my share of the bingo money.

    My first beloved one, fought this disease long ago. Back then western treatments were very poor she had very little chance to survive. Rather than to lose her child unborn, she did not take the “conventional treatment and took only traditional treatments that would not harm her child. I do not think she ever really saw her daughter, at the end she was so bad she drifted between this world to the next ind fever dreams and babbles. I wish she had seen our daughter, she went through so much pain to live until the day he could be born through caesarian , She was so brave, but did not last another day after she gave birth.

    I ask with what little skill my voice contains, please reconsider the chemotherapy. Only a fool or an Euro would argue that treatment from McMasters and the Canadian court system was offensive and a violation of treaty and law. Their behavior was wrong, but that does not mean that the little sister does not need conventional medicine for her body and traditional for her spirit. I’d certainly suggest another hospital, as I have not seen McMasters make any two sentences when one was not a lie.

    Also, could someone explain to my why the little sister is being taken to Hippocrates Health Institute, my research on that bunch had not lead me to believe they know traditional medicine or conventional medicine?

    • Teel

      I meant to say Only a fool or an Euro would argue that treatment from McMasters and the Canadian court system was NOT offensive and a violation of treaty and law

  • Cindy Wilsey

    To the family, my best hopes for you. With regard to your statement, what you have said shows restraint and deliberate thoughtfulness. Thank you for your considerate measured response under dire circumstances. However, I must express my opinion that your statement is also the expression of the grossest understatement of the year. The stress was not just uncalled for, but offensive in the extreme. Again, my continued best hopes for your family as it heals from this attack so you may nurture and care for your sick child.

  • Kristin

    I am glad the family took a stand. I to had cancer of the blood and my parents were also signed a contract. My treatments were experimental they called them BCG injections. I was diagnosed in 1959 and had no chemo . The doctor of treatment was in Winnipeg Dr Forester at the children hospital and second was dr. Schroeder . I understand the treatment was never preform .

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