Madge 1

#MomentsThatMatter – A celebration of womanhood and Cree heritage

For some, heritage can play an integral part in reaching one’s goals throughout life. Recently, Chartwell Eau Claire Care Community did something truly special for a resident with a strong connection to her Aboriginal heritage through Chartwell’s Moments that Matter program.

Madeleine, or “Madge” as she likes to be called, has accomplished many great things throughout her life, particularly in her pursuit of education. Both of Madge’s parents were Cree, and during childhood, she was enrolled in a reservation elementary school in Saskatchewan. Later, while attending high school, she discovered a love for the arts and sciences. Once enrolled in university, Madge proudly achieved her Bachelor of Science, but she wasn’t finished there: she continued to study, first attaining her Masters in Health Sciences, and ultimately a PhD in Health and Science.

Few people are able to reach these kinds of educational goals in their lifetime, and for this reason, the Life Enrichment Team at Chartwell Eau Claire not only wanted to honour Madge’s inspiring achievements, but her Aboriginal heritage as well, which serves as her constant inspiration.

The residence got in touch with the University of Calgary and made arrangements for Madge to attend the school’s monthly Grandmothers’ Tea Cree Ceremony, an event which celebrates Cree womanhood and culture through song, drum circles, prayer and thoughtful discussion.

Upon hearing of the arrangement, Madge was surprised and truly elated to be invited to the ceremony. She had a wonderful time attending, celebrating what it means to be a Cree woman living in Canada with like-minded attendees from similar backgrounds.

“I really liked the ceremony because it allowed me to return to my roots, and sitting there, you feel right at home,” said Madge. “There was a great emphasis on spirituality and recognition of the Cree ways of knowing. When you understand the native way of learning, you feel more connected to your environment.”

All across Canada, Chartwell Retirement Residences provides residents with fulfilling, engaging moments that celebrate what matters to them the most. To learn more about our Moments that Matter program, click here.