Martha Baker’s story
Indigenous Well being Web site Coordinator, HSC Winnipeg
“I usually hear that we (Indigenous Folks) are all the identical. However we’re very various and every particular person is exclusive of their observe and a few deliver completely different items – and completely different skills – to conventional cultural practices. It’s assumed everyone knows or carry these items, however we don’t – it was misplaced in lots of communities, mine for one.”
Martha Baker is of Cree descent. She traces her journey to Winnipeg again from the place she was born within the small northern neighborhood of South Indian Lake, Manitoba. That is the place she realized to talk Cree – a present she now makes use of to help Indigenous sufferers searching for well being companies at Well being Sciences Centre Winnipeg.
“I truly left northern Manitoba to pursue research at college heading in the direction of a profession in schooling,” stated Martha. “However once I was recruited into well being care, I noticed the chance to be a voice for Indigenous folks, particularly those that come from northern communities. And I bear in mind considering to myself, ‘now that is attention-grabbing’.”
Martha started her profession in well being care as an Interpreter, working with sufferers and their households to bridge language gaps and guarantee data is relayed precisely and totally between well being care suppliers and sufferers, sustaining affected person privateness and dignity.
“As an Interpreter, we search for methods to explain signs and care as precisely as potential between suppliers and sufferers,” stated Martha. “However this may be difficult as a result of in comparison with an English dictionary of one million phrases, there’s possibly solely ten thousand within the Aboriginal language.”
Martha added, “There are sometimes not direct explanations or translation for English phrases in our language. This isn’t simply the case for medical phrases both. For example, there’s not a Cree phrase for “superior”. After we really feel in awe or amazed, we are saying ‘mamaskatch’!”
Just lately, language teams/neighborhood of observe have began inside the Indigenous Well being group to deliver audio system of Ojibwe collectively, Cree the subsequent week and Oji-Cree the next week, to provide you with phrases in every language to higher describe widespread – but difficult – phrases they arrive throughout of their work.
“I like the outdated language however so many individuals don’t converse it now, particularly youthful folks within the North,” stated Martha. “However there are a lot of Oji-Cree who’re vibrant in maintaining the language alive and I’m completely happy to see it now being supplied in colleges.”
At this time, Martha helps Indigenous sufferers receiving care on the website in her function as website coordinator for Indigenous Well being applications. On this function, she makes use of her expertise, reward of language, and system data to attach with well being professionals and coordinate companies that meet sufferers’ wants, equivalent to interpreter companies, non secular and cultural care and different sources and companies.
“Being from northern Manitoba, I do know what it’s like coming from a small neighborhood,” Martha stated. “I perceive how troublesome it may be to navigate well being care insurance policies and processes when such techniques are usually not understood of their communities or in the event that they exist, not many individuals are conversant in them.”
“It might probably really feel scary – strolling by way of the doorways of the hospital – simply from the dimensions of the ability or town. I like that I could be a comforting connection to residence by way of language, provide steering and navigate them the place they should go.”