Covenant Health

Teepee teachings – three questions to Kyle Campiou, Aboriginal Cultural Helper for Covenant Health

June 19, 2015

 15 June19 Covh St Tipiteachings

Throughout the summer people are welcome to explore the teepee erected in the outdoor courtyard of the Misericorida Community Hospital cafeteria. It is the sixth year the Covenant Health site has celebrated the healing power of Aboriginal culture this way.

Kyle Campiou, Aboriginal Cultural Helper for Covenant Health is our guide to understanding the teepee's significance.

What does a teepee symbolize?

The bottom of the teepee is the skirt, which is Grandmother/Mother Earth. All the female nurturers come from the Mother Earth so everything inside is protected and given shelter. Like ourselves, the fire represents our life, our warmth and the fire inside. The flaps represent our Grandfather, arms reaching up. The smoke represents our prayers being carried to Creator/God.

The poles represent the full cycle of the year, 13 moons and two poles for night and day. There are 15 in total.

What can a teepee teach us?

When you work in a structure of squares, having a circle can give people a new perspective and connection they don’t get from walking in hallways and going into rooms. A teepee can shift you emotionally. It brings a person outdoors into something that is round, soft and made of canvas. People often find it a place of solace, a place to meditate or pray.

We have put up these special ribbons that have been prayed over by an elder-they are specifically to help people bring their prayers to this sacred spot.

What role does a teepee play in a healthcare setting?

We don’t believe a body just gets sick. We don’t believe a person gets sick in isolation. We believe it is connected to their spirit, their community and ultimately their environment. So that is why we feel it is important to have healing and welcoming places in their environment. The word tawaw in Cree means “come in, you're welcome; there's room".  The teepee at the Misericordia is always open, it is even wheelchair accessible.

The teepee will be up throughout the summer because that is when Mother Earth gives us the most amount of healing energy.

See a feature on Kyle on page 8 of the summer 2010 Our Compass