Nicole Madsen, a registered nurse with a Métis background, has been given a Cree name, which translates to Bearclaw Woman.
The Cree naming ceremony was held at the Red Deer Regional Hospital on April 19 and presided over by Cree Elder Wilson Okeymaw.
The Red Deer Regional Hospital has an Aboriginal Cultural Room. Weekly smudges held there helped Madsen become more in touch with her culture.
“It is part of my heritage and part of my history and our society that I feel very disconnected with. We deal with a lot of Indigenous people in our community and oftentimes we are not culturally aware enough to necessarily be supportive of what their values are,” said Madsen.
“I think it’s going to inspire me to be the best person I can be. I seek every day to try and be positive and upbeat, but it’s a very intentional moment where I think I have been reborn in a way where I’m able to let go of my past and move forward,” said Madsen.
Okeymaw is hopeful that this ceremony will lead to other naming ceremonies.