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Mother of Six Nations girl using indigenous medicine speaks out

The following is a prepared statement read by the mother of the Six Nations girl who refused chemotherapy in favor of indigenous medicines (Ongwehonwe Onongwatri:yo). The statement is written here in it’s entirety. “In August of last year my daughter [J.J.] was diagnosed with leukemia. After careful consideration of her quality of life during and

The following is a prepared statement read by the mother of the Six Nations girl who refused chemotherapy in favor of indigenous medicines (Ongwehonwe Onongwatri:yo). The statement is written here in it’s entirety.

“In August of last year my daughter [J.J.] was diagnosed with leukemia. After careful consideration of her quality of life during and after treatment our family chose to utilize Ongwehowe health care.

The family’s ideas around healthcare are holistic and has been a part of [J.J.’s] life from birth. She was raised in a traditional Mohawk family who practices our ceremonies, medicines, language and belief system.

Our choice was questioned in a Canadian court of law where a ruling was brought forth that supported our right to Ongwehowe health care practices.

I have met with provincial government representatives who have been respectful and compassionate. The issue is not whether traditional medicine will be respected but how it will be respected. And how and when the two systems can work together.

The two systems have taught each other and learned from each other for nearly 400 years. They share medicines. They have the same purpose. Behind the institutions and the interests, behind the politics and the law – we are all people after all.

The Great Law teaches us that we need to begin with compassion and we need to behave with respect. We cannot allow anger and sorrow to cloud our vision. The family and the government of Ontario are continuing to discuss the most respectful and effective ways to provide for [J.J.’s] healthcare.

There is no matter now before the courts because an appeal period has been extended by agreement to March 13th.”

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Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow is Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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1 Comment

  • Guest
    March 5, 2015, 1:29 pm

    Agreed. Traditional medicine is to be respected. If a child has ALL death is a certainty without modern chemotherapy. To save JJ the two approaches must be combined.

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