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May 2019

TSINIKSSINI 2006

what's inside...

2019

Published by Blood Tribe Administration

COMMUNICATIONS Department

The Blood Tribe Administration Review entitled ‘TSINIKSSINI’ is dedicated to the sharing of information for the people of the Blood Tribe. The magazine format features news, stories, articles and an array of items as our way of sharing what is occurring on the Blood reserve and beyond. We hope you enjoy your magazine and invite any suggestions you may have in improving our coverage on any number of events and activities. The magazine will be printed on a monthly basis and will be distributed to various locations on-and-off the reserve. The magazine is free of charge. The magazine is published by the Blood Tribe Communications department. The collection of information, photographs and layout of the magazine is from the Blood Tribe Communications department. Reproduction of any story or use of photographs must be requested in writing and addressed to the Blood Tribe Communications department. Any unauthorized use of stories and photos of TSINIKSSINI or from the Blood Tribe Communications department may infringe on tribal copyright laws. We would like to acknowledge the Blood Tribe Chief & Council and the people of the Blood Tribe for your support. Rick Tailfeathers: Communications Director Tom Russell: Communications Writer Myron Fox: Layout Graphic Design Zane Medicine Crane Photos/Stories

Published by the authority of Blood Tribe Chief & Council Box 60 Standoff, AB T0L 1Y0 ph: (403) 737-3753 FAX: (403) 737-2785 visit our website for more... www.bloodtribe.org

The rainy season is upon us once again as the ground becomes rejuvenated with much-needed moisture. With the harshness of seemingly winter behind us, the time for regrowth and promise awaits. The much-anticipated funds from the recent settlement will bring about growth and development once decisions have been finalized. There was a recent gathering of First Nations people from across the country who joined together in Calgary to discuss the possibility of uniting against the pharmaceutical companies and to have legislation from the federal government in support of First Nations dealing with the deadly opioid drugs rampant in our communities. During his early hockey days on the Blood reserve, a young talented hockey player laced his skates for a tryout to play for a newly-formed hockey team – the Inspol Thunderbirds. Dale Rabbit, a former hockey star shares his story of his early days as an athlete who left home at a young age to compete in a level of hockey that was extremely fast and competitive. Part of the ground in the townsite of the Waterton Lakes National Park has been dedicated for the construction of a visitors centre. Members of the Blackfoot Confederacy were present to offer blessings as officials from the Waterton Lakes Park joined in to welcome the beginning of a journey in which the history of the Blackfoot peoples will be shared with visitors from around the world. Two members of the Blood Tribe’s Police Services were recently recognized for their contributions as a result of their duties in law enforcement. Chief of Police Kyle Melting Tallow and Sgt. Jim Bennett were presented with medals in appreciation of their efforts. For many years, an employee of the Blood Tribe Administration has been called upon by members of the tribe for her assistance during the tax season. Marsha Crow Eagle, management, makes herself available to assist tribal members in completing their taxes. Crow Eagle and several other employees volunteer their time and expertise in assisting with the completion of tax forms during this busy time of the year. Please read more in this issue of TSINIKSSINI and offer any thoughts or suggestions in the up-coming issues. ‘Til next time… cover photo Students from the tribal schools in full flight as they make a dash as participants in the run for diabetes. The students receive an early education from their schools on healthy diets and exercise in an effort to minimize the effects of diabetes. Many adults from the community also participated in the diabetes run. Front Page Photo:

Zane Medicine Crane

Additional Photographers: William Singer III, Sandra Delaney, Winston Bruised Head, Enoch First Nation. 2


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

BLOOD TRIBE COMMUNITY UPDATE RIRSD UPDATE (RECOGNITION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AND SELF DETERMINATION) May 2019

On July 5, 2018 the Blood Tribe entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Minister Bennet “to enter into discussions with a view to reconciliation of relationships and to address matters of importance to the Blood Tribe.” There was a joint press release issued that day and an article appeared in the Lethbridge Herald and was also covered by Global News and our local media. The Blood Tribe took this as an opportunity to begin discussions on the renewal of the Tribe’s Funding Agreement which covers funding for many program areas such as Social Services, FCSS, Children’s Services, Public Works, Education and Administration. The discussion table was also utilized to resolve long outstanding issues with regard to land management such as the permits and to address any obstacles encountered in land claims and other negotiations. It also provided the Tribe an opportunity to further develop our Treaty Position so we can clearly articulate a response to present day challenges. The tables that exist are specific to whatever topics or initiatives a First Nation wishes to discuss or pursue. When we entered into discussions we were very clear that we wanted to address 3 areas: renewal of our funding agreement, outstanding issues in land management and our treaty position. The Blood Tribe has a long standing treaty position that was passed down to us from our ancestors, our past leaders and our elders that is based on the protection of our treaty and aboriginal rights and our land. We have a strong treaty position that we have never deviated from and we will continue to use it as our foundation and guideline for all projects, initiatives and future development in governance and all aspects of community. We have always used our treaty position as a guide in responding to any federal initiatives or policies that may have a bearing on our treaty and aboriginal rights and our land. In land management we have never agreed to utilize the First Nation Land Management Act (FNLMA) because it is not a good fit for us, it does not fall in line with our principles and our position. We also rejected First Nation Oil and Gas and Money Management Act (FNOGMMA) for the same reasons. In whatever we do we take measures to ensure that our rights and our lands are not adversely affected. Item 8 of the July 5, 2018 MOU is a non-derogation clause which states that: “Nothing in this MOU shall be construed so as to prejudice, abrogate or derogate from the Aboriginal or Treaty rights of the Blood Tribe or Blood Tribe members or any obligation of the Crown to the Blood Tribe or Blood Tribe members pursuant to treaties, statutes or the Constitution, including any rights protected by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.” Blood Tribe Chief and Council 2019

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TSINIKSSINI May 2019

GROUND-BREAKING CEREMONY IN WATERTON LAKES AS WORK BEGINS FOR VISITOR INFORMATION CENTRE

Elders and members of the Blackfoot Confederacy and Waterton Park officials at ground-breaking ceremony.

Officials from Waterton Lakes National Park and delegates from the Blackfoot Confederacy gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony and blessing of the visitor’s information centre on Friday, May 17, 2019 as snow fluttered gently from above. Elder Bruce Wolf Child performed the blessing with the people in attendance watching as a beautiful beaded shovel with eagle feathers dangling from the handle was used during the ceremony. Blood elder Wolf Child welcomed those in attendance and said a prayer for the continued well-being of the Park and its employees and for those who will visit the information centre in the years to come. Representatives from the Siksika, Piikani, Kainai and Blackfeet nations as well as Park representatives had the honor of participating in the ceremony and blessing. Wolf Child, along with Wylie Weasel Moccasin and Troy Delaney sang honor songs to close off the ceremony. The centre is designed to offer interpretive exhibits and educational programming,

in addition to a full range of information services. Officials say interpretive elements, designed in consultation with Indigenous communities, will reflect Blackfoot history, culture, values and traditions. The $17.3 million information centre, under construction by Graham Construction of Calgary, will include a playground, an outdoor plaza and charging stations for electric vehicles. The Canadian government’s contribution and investment toward the restoration project, after the disastrous Kenow fire of 2017, amounts to about $96 million.

today’s ceremony. The main theme of the visitors centre will be convergence – a meeting place – this land we now call Waterton is a traditional meeting place for many cultures. I want to thank you again for sharing your culture.” The visitor’s information centre is expected to fully open its doors in the spring of 2021.

Blood elder Wilton Goodstriker, who emceed the function, introduced Waterton Lakes Park Superintendent Salman Rasheed who acknowledged the guests and participants. “It’s a great honor and all my staff are honored to be a part of this blessing,” he said. “We’re here to mark the start of construction of the new visitors centre and I want to thank the Blackfoot Confederacy for sharing their traditional territory for 4

Bruce Wolf Child gives Salman Rasheed shovel.

Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

TWO MEMBERS OF BLOOD TRIBE POLICE SERVICES RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Kyle Melting Tallow

Sergeant Jim Bennett’s award was for Distinguished Community Service. Melting Tallow had high praise for Sgt. Bennett’s accomplishments as a member of the Blood Tribe Police Services. “He’s done such a tremendous effort in our community, to show we are communityminded and to show that we are not just here to enforce the law, we’re here to do much more.” The Blood Tribe Police Services recently had their Crime Prevention week where they kicked off the week with a barbeque at the Police Station. They then had a movie night, a talent show and a check stop to check the drivers and passengers for safety precautions. The Blood Tribe Chief & Council and the people of the Blood Tribe congratulate Melting Tallow, Sgt. Bennett and the Blood Tribe Police Services for their protection and community involvement.

Blood Tribe Police Services Chief of Police Kyle Melting Tallow.

Two members of the Blood Tribe Police Services were recently recognized for long-standing service and community involvement. Blood Tribe Chief of Police Kyle Melting Tallow and Sgt. James (Jim) Bennett received awards highlighting the dedication and commitment in ensuring safety and adherence to the law.

Jim Bennett

Chief Melting Tallow received the First Nations Chief of Police Association Longservice and Good Conduct Medal for more than 20 years service. Melting Tallow proudly accepted his award but shared the accolades with his family and fellow police officers. “There are many people who contributed to the way I police, but first and foremost, my family,” he said. “Currently, right now, I lead a great team here, the Blood Tribe Police Services, phenomenal people with a shared vision of wanting to do more for the community.” Melting Tallow said the Blood Tribe Police Services writing tickets and other related duties are required, but he said they want to work with the community, to see how they can keep people out of jail, to see how they can help reform people. “We’re really wanting to work with the community and to show we are approachable.”

Sgt. Jim Bennett plays a huge role in developing and maintaining community involvement.

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Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

OPIOID CONFERENCE BRING CONCERNED PEOPLE TOGETHER TO PUT AN END TO THE DEADLY DRUG Tom is currently building a Native American coalition to address the deadliest drug epidemic of our time, the national opioid crisis. He is currently using his education, experience and knowledge in pursuit of legal recourse and advice for First Nations to hold accountable those responsible for the opioids devastation in our communities. Rodgers believes in his own experiences as an average person doing the right thing and the right time for no money. He said now is the time to act. He believes in the words of a Mexican journalist Javier Valdez Cardenas who died in 2017: If the sentence for covering this hell is death, then kill us all – No To Silence. Cardenas muttered these words standing over the grave of a young woman who called out the Mexican cartel for the drugs and who was eventually murdered by them for her stance to fight for what she believed was right.

Tom Rodgers, Carlyle Consulting, highlights need to combat opioids and addictions.

A conference titled Wiping the Tears, Healing the Pain in Calgary on May 6-7, 2019 brought together people from across Canada and the Territories to participate in a fact-gathering effort to pursue a path against pharmaceutical companies and a federal government mandate in dealing with the deadly opioid crisis. Tom Rodgers, Carlyle Consulting, along with the Global Indigenous Council, hosted the two-day conference to seek resolutions in seeking solutions. “None of these stories will matter unless we act,” he said. “There are no illusions; you are nothing but a dollar sign to these pharmaceutical companies. You have to make your elected leaders act. Without any action, there is no accountability.” Rodgers is behind a move to establish a unified front with as many First Nations tribes across Canada to bring attention to opioids that are wreaking havoc in many communities. During the conference, there were many accounts of experiences shared from frontline workers and others affected by voluntary and involuntary abuses of these addictive and deadly drugs. Included in the conference were how the opioid crisis blended in with the historical

trauma the First Nations people suffered and the impact on culture and methods of traditional healing. During the conference, many people had the opportunity to share their own personal insights of their direct or indirect involvement with these drugs. For example, a lady and her family from one of the Blackfoot nations took her fight directly to those living in her community who were selling drugs to their members. Her efforts of going door-to-door to expose the drug dealers helped to curb their sales, but unfortunately, could not completely halt the flow of drugs from being sold elsewhere. Other stories, some eerily similar, had family members living clean, pure lives until pain relief offered to them came in the form of opioids prescribed by doctors. Their intake of these opioids escalated into stronger doses and eventually graduated to the highly addictive and often deadly street drugs. Many of those who unfortunately have succumbed to the street life are often barely unrecognizable to family and friends due to their high intake of drugs and lack of proper diet and exercise. These are only several examples of the highly destructive nature of opioids. 6

Rodgers believes the time is right for the First Nations of Canada to say No To Silence. He likens the pharmaceutical manufacturers to drug pushers who only care for money and profit – to get a person high and hope they don’t die so that they can continue to soak money from the addicted and to build up their bank accounts. Rodgers continues his efforts to unite the First Nations of Canada where he will fight to expose the wrongs from deadly addictions and death caused by opioids.

Siksika elder Herman Many Guns.

Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

AIYIIKAKIMAOP FAMILY & COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS FOR TRIBAL CHILDREN AND YOUTH SUPPORT SERVICES

L-R: Vera White Quills, Roxanne Scout, Marilyn Standing Alone, Tracy Duck Chief and Nadine White Man.

A new Aiyiikakimaop Family & Community Connections for Children and Youth (AFCCCY) team has been set up within Blood Tribe Social Development (BTSD) to: •Assist families to find and get supports and services for children and youth under the age of 19 who have disabilities and/or unmet needs; and •Assist in finding culturally appropriate supports and services and to safeguard the best interests of their children and youth. Many of our families need services and supports for their children that have not been available on the reserve, mainly due to policies of the federal and provincial governments. Some families have had to leave the reserve to get government-funded services that have not been available to the Blood Tribe. Most often families have a hard time finding and getting those services that are available. Let’s give our “Precious Children” (Sakakapiipokaksi) every opportunity to make the most of life. You can set up a confidential meeting with an AFCCCY Case Manager to discuss your family’s needs and find out how we can help you. For Information about the AFCCCY please call 403-737-8660 to get more information.

AFCCCY STAFF: Tracy Duck Chief, AFCCCY Coordinator Marilyn Standing Alone, AFCCCY Family Advocate Roxanne Scout, AFCCCY Case Manager Nadine White Man, AFCCCY Case Manager

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Vera White Quills, AFCCCY Case Manager 7

Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

BLACKFOOT LANGUAGE KEY TO OUR SURVIVAL AS CONFERENCE FOCUSES ON KEY RESOURCES Our Blackfoot language is not being spoken as often as it should and the language itself is nearly being lost. The Kainai Board of Education is teaching their students the Blackfoot language and culture early on within their education curriculum. They are finding that the Kainai students are interested to know more about the Blackfoot language, so they can have a better understanding of who they are and to communicate with their elders. The language is key to the Blackfoot identity, culture and traditions. The KBE Board of Directors gathered in Lethbridge for a two-day conference to discuss what they can do to revive the Blackfoot language and culture. The conference ran through May 16-17, 2019 at the Sandman Signature Lethbridge Lodge conference center. It focused on sustaining the language and restoring the culture for future generations. The theme titled, “Leadership: Accountability & Exit Report.” “This is my 5th annual meeting, the objective of these meetings is to bring awareness to the KBE Board Members, parent advisory committee, staff, elders and community members of the programs to make the language going,” said Pat Twigg, KBE Blackfoot Language and Culture Coordinator.

is action, as an education provider we cannot save the language by ourselves, we need collaboration from the rest of the Nation,” said Delia Twigg, KBE Blackfoot Committee Chair. KBE provides their students an opportunity to help build a strong Kainai identity in keeping with Kainaysinni. It is essential to provide not only an academic setting but also an environment to reinforce Kainai traditional language and culture. “We’re really pushing the program but we need help,” said Delia Twigg.

“I really enjoyed my time here for these two days in participating and listening to the efforts of the Blackfoot language and culture department of KBE. It really engages the community, as well as bringing all departments together to collaborate and discuss how we can further achieve success in retaining our language and culture,” said Lydia First Rider, KBE Committee Member.

The current KBE Board of Directors want to leave behind a beneficial Blackfoot language & culture program in place for the students and faculty. But also for the next elected Board of Directors, the election will take place on Thursday, June 6, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Building in Standoff. Advance polls are scheduled for June 4, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Friendship Society in Lethbridge. Pat Twigg, KBE Language Coordinator.

There was a list of recommendations created by the KBE board members for future programming, analysis, support, planning, improving the Blackfoot language & culture for their students and faculty. These recommendations included: naming ceremonies, speaking the Blackfoot language for a day throughout the KBE schools, use Blackfoot names at all times, Blackfoot signage for school zones and communities. Action day took place on day two during the conference, where they joined for a table discussion and split into groups to discuss new ideas, make recommendations and develop an action plan of collaborative work. The KBE board members are finding it challenging to teach the Blackfoot language to all their students due to a lack of resources and are seeking help from the parents’ advisory committee, leadership and the community. “Today

Students presenting recommendations during the conference in Lethbridge.

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Story by Zane Medicine Crane


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

KAINAI WELLNESS CENTRE SPEAKER SERIES PRESENTATION FOCUSES ON INTER-GENERATIONAL TRAUMA AND HEALING

Dr. Eduardo Duran -“We have a responsibility now for those fourteen generations; seven generations before us and seven generations after us.”

Dr. Eduardo Duran invited as special guest speaks on topic of intergenerational trauma and historical oppression.

The Kainai Wellness Centre organized a Speaker Series Presentation on May 3, 2019 at the Kainai Multi-Purpose Building. The event’s theme was titled: ‘Healing Across Fourteen Generations.’ The oneday event focused on effects of historical trauma, healing strategies and traditional teachings. Terri-Lynn Fox, Director, Kainai Wellness Centre, and her team prearranged the planning in advance and put a lot of effort into the presentation to make it a reality for the elders, participants and community members.

of historical oppression and its negative consequences across generations. There is proven evidence of the impact of intergenerational trauma on the health, wellbeing and social disparities facing First Nations.

The over 200 participants who attended the one-day event learned about techniques and strategies to better provide culturally sensitive, traditional teachings and to incorporate the practices in their counseling and care methods.

A day prior to the speaker series event, the Kainai Wellness Centre staff was provided with an in-service training from Dr. Duran at their new facility.

“We had an excellent turnout. Well over 200 people attended and it was just a really great way for me to say to my community: ‘I am committed, visible and I am going to work hard to bring awareness,’ said Fox.

“We wanted to look at what intergenerational trauma looked like from a Blackfoot context or Indigenous context in general,” she said. “We have a responsibility now for those fourteen generations; seven generations before us and seven generations after us.”

The presentation focused on community members, health care providers, mental health workers, counselors, educators and anyone that was interested in having a better understanding of trauma, intergenerational trauma and spirit of self. Each attendant received a Wellness bag upon arrival that included a book by Duran.

It initially transpired during the fall of 2018, and that is when Fox contacted Dr. Eduardo Duran to invite him as a special guest for the speaker series presentation. Intergenerational trauma is the transmission

Dr. Duran, a psychologist, consultant and author working in Bozeman, Mont., is originally from northern New Mexico. He is also a veteran of the United States Submarine Force. 9

The Kainai Wellness Centre staff awarded a gift to Dr. Duran for his efforts and Fox also thanked all participants for attending the one-day presentation.

Story by Zane Medicine Crane


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

RABBIT ONE OF THE LUCKY FEW PLAYERS CHOSEN TO PLAY THUNDERBIRD HOCKEY The Thunderbirds were an all-Native team coached by Wilton Little Child, George Calihoo and Art Gingras. Prior to his invitation, Rabbit began playing with the Stand Off Canadians of the Blood reserve Hockey League at 13-years-of-age. It was when he was 16 when he participated in a tryout at the Kainai Sports Centre in 1969 for a spot with the Thunderbirds. “It was exciting to go off the reserve to play on another team,” he said. “Back then hockey was a sport that everyone enjoyed watching. Today, it’s different, but back then we had a lot of fun playing.” Rabbit said their coaches pushed them and if they had a breakaway and failed to score, they would have to do 25 push-ups after the game at center ice as a way of getting the players to do better. After a few years with Inspol, he was recruited again by the late Jim Goodstriker where he starred with the Kainai Chief until his retirement. Rabbit has advice for those young players wanting to experience hockey beyond the reserve. “There will always be time to come home,” he said. “But, you have to do your thing outside the reserve. Other than that, just go out, do your best and play your hardest.” While at the banquet, Rabbit received a plaque and a ring to commemorate his years playing with the Inspol Thunderbirds. Dale Rabbit, former Inspol Thunderbird pictured here with plaque.

Over fifty years ago, a young man from the Blood reserve was recruited to play hockey with a newly formed team – the Inspol Thunderbirds. Dale Rabbit, a strapping young defenceman who played locally on the reserve, accepted the invitation to tryout and made the move to Edmonton.

“I had a chance to meet many of my former teammates,” said Rabbit upon attending the banquet. “But, sad to say, many of my teammates have passed on.”

“I was approached by (the late) Jim Gladstone who told me I was invited to tryout for the Inspol Thunderbirds,” he recalled. “I agreed to go.” And now, fifty years later, Rabbit recently attended the Inspol Thunderbirds 50th Anniversary Reunion Banquet on May 18, 2019 at the River Cree Resort & Casino, where he had the opportunity to mingle once again with those teammates of days gone by.

Rabbit stands with many of his former teammates at reunion banquet in Edmonton.

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Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

STANDING HEADDRESS SOCIETY HOSTED CONFERENCE WITH THEME DEDICATED TO HONORING

OUR MOTHERS

Members of the Standing Headdress Society pose proudly with their traditional regalia during Kaamipoisaamiiksi Conference.

The first annual Kaamipoisaamiiksi Conference, organized by Kamotaan Consulting who chose the theme ‘Honoring Our Mothers,’ was a women’s conference that took place on Friday, May 10, 2019 at the Multi-Purpose Building in Standoff. The Kaamipoisaamiiksi (Standing Headdress) Society, the Blackfeet Nation, Piikani Nation, Siksika Nation and the Kainai Nation were all sponsors for the one-day conference. Shinah House, Alberta Natural Products and Starbucks Coffee also partnered up with Kamotaan Consulting for the women’s conference. It attracted over 200 Blackfoot women together to begin dialogue and to celebrate our mothers through knowledge sharing and traditional storytelling. Wendy English was the Master of Ceremonies for the conference that focused on empowering one another and being supportive towards each other. Karen English, Owner & Founder of Kamotaan Consulting, said: “We need to have unity, bring our women together to stay strong and lift each other up.” Influential women from the Blackfoot

Confederacy were invited by organizers to share their life experiences and personal stories to inspire the participants in attendance. They began with an Elder’s Panel comprised of: Carol Mason, Kainai Nation; Louise English, Piikani Nation, Betty Cooper, Amskapi Nation and Eileen Black, Siksika Nation. Karen English of Kamotaan Consulting and is a member of the Piikani Nation. English received her Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Calgary in 2000 and continues working with Indigenous families and communities. Her compassion and dedication to creating unity and collaboration has brought her to this point in her journey as a First Nation’s women consultant.

The Kaamipisaakmiiksi Society shared inspirational messages for everyone and during the afternoon hours, a Young Women’s Panel followed. The participants enjoyed entertainment provided by Derek Starlight. Kamotaan Consulting acknowledges the committee, sponsors and partners. “I want every mom to leave this conference feeling empowered, worthy and knowing that they are special. We are all here to build each other up,” said English.

“We wanted to honor the mothers because when we go to conferences we are always talking about the bad stuff and we wanted to talk about the good stuff which is our mothers,” said English. Deb Pace, a member of the Standing Headdress Society, approached English to coordinate the women’s conference. This collaboration was to honor grandmothers, mothers, daughters and sisters from the Blackfoot Confederacy. 11

Story by Zane Medicine Crane


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

CANADIAN INDIAN RELAY DEDICATES ITS SEASON TO MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS WOMEN The Kehewin First Nation hosted the 2019 Canadian Indian Relay Season Opener in Bonnyville, AB., during the May longweekend. A record number of entries and a huge crowd witnessed one of the greatest Indian Relay events in Canada. The weather was almost perfect with the sun shining each day and everyone wearing t-shirts. With the teams from Browning, Mont., entered it made this a great International competition. In the final heat there were three teams from Browning, a team from Saskatchewan and Alberta racing for the title of Season Opener Champion. In the end the former world champions from Browning emerged victorious. Team Carlson showed why they are the top team in North America.

Each day the Lady Warriors started the event with a very intense race which had Logan Red Crow from Siksika win the competition. After the race an honoring of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls took the stage for a few minutes. A very beautiful song by a lady from Kehewin with a hand drum was very emotional. The 2019 Canadian Indian Relay Racing Season has been dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Another event that was a real crowd pleaser was the Little Brave’s Race. The little ponies were definitely one of the crowd pleasers for the entire weekend. There may be an opportunity for the first ever Little Braves Canadian Championships in Regina, Sask. The association president is

Heat #1

Championship Heat

1st

Boss Ribs, Browning, Mont. USA

1st

Carlson, Browning, Mont. USA

2nd

Stick Racing, PoundMaker, Sask.

2nd

Sioux Foot, Stony Nation, AB.

3rd Amskapii Mont. USA

Heat #2 1st

J.J. Nosimack.

Pikuni,

currently negotiating the event that will be held in November during the indoor pro rodeo. The highlight of the 2019 season will be the Canadian Championships set for August 31 to September 1, 2019 at Century Downs in Calgary. Tickets have gone on sale and can be purchased online at showpass.com. Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for 55 and over, $10 for youth 10-12 years old and free for 9 years and under. The event will see the largest prize money in the history of Canadian Indian Relay. Next on the tour is Maskwacis set for June 8-9, 2019 followed by Saddle Lake, AB. A couple of additions to the season are the High River Pro Rodeo and Sundre Pro Rodeos both scheduled for June 22-23. Strathmore, AB., will kick off the summer holidays with their event starting June 30 to July 1.

Browning,

2nd

4th Atigmeg Utin, Goodfish Lake, AB. USA

Two Medicine, Browning, Mont.

3rd

T.K. Farrier, Mistawasis, Sask.

Whitefish Warriors, Big River,

4th

Wild n Cree.

5th Sask.

Heat #3 1st

River Cree, Enoch, AB.

2nd

440 Nation.

3rd

Anatapsii, Pikani Nation, AB.

4th

Mini Thini Nakoda, Morley, AB.

Heat #4 1st Pretty Nation, AB.

Young

Man,

Siksika

2nd AB.

Partner Stables, Goodfish Lake,

3rd

Northern Valley Boys, Sask.

4th Northern Cree Express, Saddle Lake, AB. 5th

Old Sun, Siksika Nation, AB.

File photo of Indian Relay action in full-swing.

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Submitted by Dexter Bruised Head,


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

BLACKFOOT WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT PROJECT IMPROVES WELL-BEING OF

INDIGENOUS FAMILIES The three-year collaborative project is founded by Blackfoot women for Blackfoot women. It will focus on two areas, security and prosperity for the communities throughout traditional Blackfoot Territory. Coby Eagle Bear, event organizer said it originally was created by Tanya Cross Child and the late Dolores Day Chief of the Blood Tribe. “We wanted to start out small and hear people’s ideas and hoping for it to grow,” said Eagle bear. They wanted to bring women together to create support for each other to move forward within an urban community setting. The project received funding from Status of Women Canada, the Blackfoot Confederacy, Indian Business Corporation and Siksika Resource Developments Ltd. made donations for the Security & Prosperity project. The Blood Tribe Economic Development donated materials and a business presentation for the project. Each nation from the Blackfoot Confederacy had a chance to present their projects, some of the ideas included a women’s group, an empowerment council, traditional gardens, transportation and a neighborhood watch team to protect Indigenous girls and women. “If we can get these projects going and if they are sustainable they can grow, so these women don’t have to rely on the government,” said Eagle Bear

Group shot of participants at Women’s Empowerment Project.

The Blackfoot Women’s Empowerment from Security to Prosperity Project took place on Saturday, May 25th at Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society. Blackfoot grassroots women from Kainai, Siksika, Piikani, Lethbridge, Calgary and the Blackfeet Nation convened in Lethbridge to present their future community projects. Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society was a joint initiative created in 1996 by various Indigenous service agencies that shared a commitment to improving the well-being

of all Indigenous families, children and youth. Over the years, Opokaa’sin has adapted to meet the changing needs of the urban Indigenous population that it serves and is recognized as a credible provider of indigenous services. Opokaa’sin is committed to strengthening, supporting and connecting Indigenous children and families through strength based, culturally appropriate programs and services. 13

The project doesn’t want to take away from any other programs and services that are already available in the community, they want to create resources and connections for Blackfoot women. Opokaa’sin Early Intervention Society also offers other programs that are communitybased programming available for community access and admission is open and based on need and availability; one of them being Family Preservation which is a closed referral program through children services that provides family support and youth mentorship.

Story by Zane Medicine Crane


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT FEATURE

View of the proposed completed Public Works building on display for interested passersby to see.

One of the Blood Tribe Administration’s busiest departments, especially during the winter season, is often the Public Works. When the winter storms wreak havoc on the hundreds of kilometers of roads that need to remain open for businesses, schools and emergencies every day, the staff of the ‘road’s crew’ are constantly on call to meet every emergency imaginable. Joe Healy, Director, says that though the season may be changing for milder temperatures, there are still surprises Mother Nature has that can cause major disruptions for the people. “Last winter was tough, but this winter wasn’t too bad,” he said. “Our budget is not too great for a reserve this size, and when the winter becomes tough, we have to hire out contractors to help with snow removal.” The Public Works maintain 800 cysterns with four water trucks and two garbage trucks to take care of 1200 homes,

departments, schools and the entities and six graders for roughly 1200 kilometers of roads. “We’re really short when it comes to additional equipment and workers, but we’re hoping within the next ten years to hopefully double our fleet,” said Healy. The management and staff are looking forward at occupying the new public works facility in the not too distant future as construction is well underway in completing the foundations and infrastructure toward the eventual construction for the $5 million project. The companies hired will bring employment opportunities for tribal members who work in the trades. The new two-story building will cover 15,000 square foot, with a 10 bay shop area equipped with cranes, heavy-duty machinery and office space. The maintenance crew will be separate from the office crew, giving

employees a spacious and safe work environment. “The construction is going well,” said Healy on the progress of the new Public Works building. “We’ve also got a second facility going up for the utilities department that will house the garbage and water trucks for the winter. We’ve got a new transfer station coming as well. Once that is built, we’ll take the old one down.” Albert Tagoe, Principal of Talbera International Technologies, said: “This building is also designed looking ahead for the next 35 years. It’s not just designed for today, but it’s designed so that it will be able to service the public and people can use it for the next projecting 35 years.” Healy and the Public Works staff are consistently striving to provide continued services for the people of the Blood Tribe.

Construction of the new facility is moving quickly as the employees are anticipating its completion.

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Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

DRUG HARM REDUCTION PROJECT AND VOLUNTEERS JOIN TOGETHER TO CLEAN UP USED DRUG NEEDLES

Volunteers work together in providing a safe environment in picking up used needles that could pose health risks.

The Blood Tribe Drug Harm Reduction Project aims to keep Blood Tribe community members safe and healthy as possible in their given practices and lifestyle realities. It stems from the realization that drug use and other high-risk behaviors have been ingrained in today’s society. The Blood Tribe Prescription Drug Project is here to help battle against the opioid crisis and the abuse of prescription drugs on the Blood reserve. During the morning hours, on May 16, 2019 volunteers from F.C.S.S., Moses Lake Shelter, Cardston Mormon Church, ARCHES Lethbridge and Blood Tribe Drug Harm Reduction Project joined as a team. It was for the community needle pick-up in the three major communities that have been plagued by rampant drug abuse. An onsite needle safety training was provided

and volunteers were given gloves and sharps disposal cases before they split into groups. Drug users are using the needles in the party packs provided by Blood Tribe Drug Harm Reduction Project to reduce blood borne pathogens, to keep the drug users safe while using and they encourage addicts not to share any drug paraphernalia. Needles are not properly disposed in the needle sharps containers and Harm Reduction is finding the used needles on the streets and on the community sidewalks. This raises a safety hazard concern for community members and children who are often playing outdoors, walking to the Multi-Purpose Building or to the Kainai Marketplace.

a huge success, we also would like to thank the community members for their proper handling and the disposal of needles,” said Trinity White Feathers, Blood Tribe Drug Harm Reduction Project. Blood Tribe Drug Harm Reduction were surprised by the low number of needles found in the three major communities. If you see a discarded needle in the community, you are encouraged to contact Blood Tribe Drug Harm Reduction at 403-737-8737 or 403-382-0902 to have it removed.

“Thanks to all the volunteers that gave their time to pick up the needles. It was 15

Story by Zane Medicine Crane


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

NIITSITAPIIPAITAPIIWAHSINI NIITSITAPI WAY OF LIFE (UNDERSTANDING OUR FOUNDATION) “It is all here: the land, the plants our ancestors and our future. One is held within the other. You cannot know the land without knowing the plants placed here by the creator. You cannot know the creator without knowing the plants. You cannot know the plants and their healing powers without hearing the stories.”

Classic photo of the Chief Mountain from Kainai tribal lands in the mountains near Waterton Lakes Park.

Oki nikso’kowaiksi, kitsiksiksimatsimmo! I dedicate this article to one of our Elders, the late Carolla Calf Robe a traditional Kainai herbalist and educator has walked on. She has shown the younger generation the proper way to collect plants and taught their common uses. Her work, stories and knowledge of the land will live on with the students who will carry on for future generations.

One thing that always interested me is learning everything about Siksikaitsitapia’pii where we originated from and realizing how long the Niitsitapi have been here. A few years ago, I asked an elder a question of how old is the Niitsitapi? She told me to look to the stars, the Miohpokoiiyiiks (Pleiades star cluster). Another elder told me that we have our own Blackfoot science and physics and is incomprehensible to western thought. Western thought is what we are all taught in schools through to post-secondary and it’s nothing like the Blackfoot paradigm, our worldview. “Native Science, Natural Laws of Interdependence” is a book I highly recommend and covers what Native Science is (by Greg Cajete PhD, a Tewa Indian from Santa Clara Pueblo). Within its pages are stories of the various tribes who operate within the Native

science paradigm and as we all know, education is our new Buffalo. This is how to best explain Native science; it’s simple, yet profound, it’s a story and an explanation of the ways of life rooted in the origin stories of the Niitsitapi. We all know everything is alive and filled with spirit, everything has a purpose, and a benefit and we are all one within it. Everything is related, the more we know about ourselves the greater the connection. Everything around us is a celebration of life and knowing that, gives comfort to the greater joy of being Niitsitapi. I grew up in Bull Horn and my parents would often disperse my siblings to different relatives in Moses Lake to visit. Niisto, I would end up at my great grandma Issikowa’si (Buckskin/ black mane) to help her adopted son Paan (Fred Heavy Runner) assist other households to chop wood, fetch water and other duties. We were about 8 or 9 years old at the time. In them days, Moses Lake actually had a lake it was a small wetland area complete with kakitsimo, sipatsimo and otsipiiistsi (willows). There was a small “forest” of willows and back in the day people would go in them to smoke cigarettes, drink and just hang out and be up to no good. Niisto and a lot of younger kids, we were told 16

Galileo Education Network (https://galileo.org/kainai.)

NEVER to go in them willows. This one time Paan disappeared and I couldn’t find him, then I saw him in the willows with some older boys smoking cigarettes, when I heard Issikowa’si call us to get away from them willows! Paan threw his cigarette to the ground and we started walking back, scared, then Issikowa’si started teaching us about the willow bushes and had me and Paan collect a few. She then talked about the many uses of the willow and how it is an important part of Blackfoot life. As we listened, she stripped it from its bark and then began to kind of bend in a hoop showing the strength and it’s versatility. Then, like a flash of lightning, she began to use the willow on me and Paan, saying, “You boys think you’re sneaky, I seen you smoking and I told you to stay away from them willows! This will teach you a lesson! That was when I learned about the many, many, many uses of willow.

Anniayi Ohkakotsi.

Submitted by Api’soomaahka – William Singer III


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

BLOOD TRIBE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH MOBILE CLINIC IN OPERATION TO TRIBE

The staff of the Harm Reduction Unit stand beside the Mobile Medical Unit which is like a regular clinic.

The Blood Tribe Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Mobile Clinic is available for the needs of the community as it can travel from one destination to another on the reserve with medical staff that is fully prepared in providing assistance to those who utilize the service. The Mobile Clinic can assist tribal members at their homes as scheduled and can also be available on emergency situations should the need arise. Lani Black Water, Harm Reduction Manager, BTDH, says the Mobile Clinic is another source of safety and security for tribal members to be informed of. “This is like a doctor’s office on wheels, improving our services in the community,” she says. “We want this to run like a regular clinic. We can perform a number of duties here as well.” On board, the following services are provided to everyone in our community including: Flu shots, STI testing and treatment, routine and follow up blood work, prenatal care, family planning, Hepatitus C, pregnancy testing and

birth control (birth control pills or depo injections), Naloxone kits and safe injection supplies, routine check ups, wound care and Suboxone initiation.

Women’s Wellness conference and we able to help people there,” she said. “It’s a regular clinic and it’s really exciting to have this access to services.”

Black Water said when the Mobile Unit first began operating, many community members were not aware of the capabilities provided from the staff within the unit. However, as more people are becoming aware of the services provided, more walkins are becoming noticeable.

The Mobile Unit is prepared for all weather patterns so as the fluids and liquids do not freeze. Black Water is please at how collaboration is strengthening the provision of services by keeping other departments informed.

“We’re building capacity so more people can use our services,” she said. “For even children who aren’t well, and they can’t get in to see the doctor, we have a nurse practitioner who can write prescriptions so they can come here to the unit, even after hours.”

“I like to work with all the departments and reaching out to them,” she said. “We’re all trying to be proactive in keeping our people safe.” For anyone wanting to access services or more information are encouraged to contact the Mobile Clinic at 403.737.8427.

The Mobile Unit travels to many communities, especially when gatherings occur to offer their services to even more people. “We went to the diabetes walk and the 17

Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

BLOOD TRIBE ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES RECEIVE CULTURAL TRAINING FROM ELDERS The Blood Tribe Human Resource is currently having cultural training at the Multipurpose building lead by two prominent elders. Wilton Goodstriker and Bruce Wolf Child, both elders of the Horn Society, are sharing their wisdom and knowledge of the ways of the Blackfoot as a method of ensuring our traditions and practices are adhered to and understood by the employees. Frank Scout, Director, Human Resources, says the exercise is very helpful for the employees.

Bruce Wolf Child

“Sometimes we forget about the most important area of our lives which is our culture, traditions, protocols and values,” says Scout. “It is important that staff integrate our traditional values into the workplace such as respect, collectivity compassion, achievement just to name a few and to use those values as a foundation to carry out our daily duties.” The Human Resource department has been busy providing training each year in areas including team building, communication and customer service training. The Human Resource department recently co-sponsored the Blackfoot Human Resource Conference in Calgary that featured keynote speakers and where much information was shared on a variety of topics and areas of concern related to employment.

Blood elder Bruce Wolf Child shares his knowledge.

Wilton Goodstriker

Scout is grateful to the elders who not only continue to involve themselves as valuable resources on a traditional and cultural level, but act as guides in helping the employees and the public better understand our roles in maintaining our lives according to our Blackfoot customs. “Our Blood elders play an integral role in our community and it is important we utilize their knowledge to improve the Blood Tribe Administration’s services and working relationships with our people and with others who do business with the tribe,” he says. “On behalf of the Human Resources and our employees, I want to thank our elders for sharing their time, knowledge, laughter and goodwill with us.”

Blood elder Wilton Goodstriker is a valuable resource for his wisdom.

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Story by Tom Russell


TSINIKSSINI May 2019

KAINAI DIABETES RUN INSPIRES PEOPLE TO WALK FOR FITNESS AND TO EXERCISE

Students participating in exercises designed to keep them fit while having fun at the same time.

The first annual Kainai Diabetes Run/Walk took place at Red Crow Park in Standoff on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 where contestants took part in a 5K or 2K run or walk. The Kainai Diabetes Program spearheaded the event to raise awareness for diabetes and fitness for Blood Tribe members. The diabetes program has been organizing an annual community walk for over 20 years now; the Kainai Diabetes Program organized its first ever chip-timed race/ walk for the two separate track routes and categories for both male and female, ages ranging from six to 70 and over. Winners were awarded cash prizes: 1st took $100, 2nd place was $80 and 3rd place got $60. “It’s a day to inspire people to get healthy, to have fun, come out together to enjoy a walk or run. And just to get that message out that diabetes, we can really push it off by physical activity such as walking,” said Leslie Prenoslo, Registered Dietitian, Kainai Diabetes Program. “Or for someone who has diabetes, it can really help by keeping blood sugars in control by getting out for a walk. And not to mention how good it is for stress too, just the overall wellness that comes with walking, so it’s just one day out of the year but we hope people keep walking.”

There are three main types of diabetes, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. First Nations people living in Canada are among the highest-risk populations for diabetes and related complications. The Diabetes Walk/Run was a community initiative which promoted a healthy behavior for all community members. Various students from Saipoyi, Aahsaopi, Tatsikiisaapo’p, Alternate Academy and the Kainai High School all participated in the event. “It’s important that we continue this run here to create a lot of awareness, especially in our community. We know that diabetes is really an issue out there for our people so this is one way of teaching our young kids here to take care of ourselves,” said Marcel Weasel Head, Blood Tribe Councilor. The Kainai Diabetes Program operates under the Blood Tribe Department of Health, Community Health Services, to provide diabetes education and support for Kainai members. Their mission is that the numbers of Kainai Nation members being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes decreases. They’re here to work together with the community to achieve that goal. Brian Crying Head, 34, is a Blood Tribe member who’s also an avid runner. He participated in the 5K run which took him 19

20 minutes to complete and he said that he’s been a marathoner for many years. “My wife and mother-in-law are diabetic so I just wanted to run for them and give them courage to exercise.” The Kainai Diabetes Program partnered up with Blood Tribe Recreation & Parks, Public Works and the Blood Tribe Police Services for the event. Kainai athletes, leadership and students with a competitive performance, or who might know of somebody who’s diagnosed with diabetes, were dashing for diabetes to support their fellow tribal members. It was free to participate; everyone was treated with a free meal provided by Blackfoot Grill. “We are really thankful for everyone who helped out in many different ways, from people helping to organize it, to giving cash donations towards the cash prize categories or door prizes and just helping where ever they could. It was really great to see the community come together for something positive that all ages can participate in,” said Prenoslo.

Story by Zane Medicine Crane


Profile for Tsinikssini

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