KAMLOOPS — National Aboriginal Day marked a historic day at Thompson Rivers University that is expected to help First Nations people in Canada and around the world access more traditional healing.
TRU is the recipient of a $1 million grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research. It's the largest health research grant in school history and will help graduates in health care and new researchers learn about traditional First Nation healing practices.
It is an international network, to be headquartered at TRU, will be led by Dr. Rod McCormick, an indigenious health researcher and professor at TRU.
"We'll be able to hold video conferences and other ways of connecting with mentors around the world," said McCormick. "As well, we'll be able to apply for grants to keep it going, scholarships for students, and to bring in international speakers. For some of our students, give them the opportunity to focus on traditional healing. That's one of our themes."
McCormick noted the $1 million grants TRU about five years of operations for this international network, which includes nine other countries. The U.S. is involved as well as countries in the South Pacific.
Graham Smith, a professor in New Zealand who is an advocate of Maori tradition, said this network will help his people back home and others in the region.
"Traditional healing is still very much part and parcel of our community knowledge. Many of our community members feel they want to have access for people who understand the more traditional values and traditional medicines they have been raised on," said Smith.
"That's not to say they've given away the idea of Western medicine totally. But somewhere in between."
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