As part of our ongoing commitment to Truth and Reconciliation, Siloam Mission is proud to recognize today as Bear Witness day. This is the day we honour the birthday of “Spirit Bear” as well as the important work that led to the creation of Jordan’s Principle, named after Jordan River Anderson.

Jordan was a First Nations child from Norway House Cree Nation who was born with complex medical needs. Despite being medically cleared to go home, he spent more than two unnecessary years in hospital while the province of Manitoba and the federal government argued over who was legally and financially responsible for his medical care. Tragically, he passed away at the age of five without ever returning home.

Jordan’s death led to widespread calls for a child-first principle to ensure First Nations children could access the medical services they need without denial, delay or disruption.

Jordan’s Principle was passed unanimously by the House of Commons in 2007, in response to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s determination that the Government of Canada’s approach to services for First Nations children was discriminatory.

At Siloam Mission, we believe it is important to acknowledge the societal issues that led to Jordan’s death. Doing so allows us to effectively seek ways to address systemic barriers that many accessing our supports also experience.

A 2022 survey revealed that 75 per cent of Winnipeggers living on the street identified as First Nation, Inuit or Métis. If we are ever to complete our goal of reducing chronic homelessness in Winnipeg, it is paramount that we acknowledge the inter-generational trauma that Indigenous Canadians are facing.

Recognizing Bear Witness Day, and sharing Jordan Anderson’s story is all part of our pledge to share God’s love through empathy and compassion.