By Jensen, Randy on June 24, 2020.
LETHBRIDGE HERALD – STANDOFF
The Kainai Wellness Centre on the Blood Reserve will be hosting a Day of Prayer on Thursday in response to the unique challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 has deeply affected the Blood Tribe, it was noted in a Blood Tribe Department of Health news release. On June 8, the Blood Tribe lost its first Elder who survived Canada’s residential schools, to COVID-19 complications. As of last Tuesday there are 32 cases of COVID-19 in the community with 14 active and 18 recovered.
The Day of Prayer event is called “Aatso’tsiiyika’kimao’p” which means “We all try hard together” in Blackfoot. The Kainai Wellness staff will lead a convoy of vehicles through the communities of Moses Lake, Levern, Standoff and Old Agency. The convoy will stop in each community and an Elder will pray and smudge for the community members who have experienced hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, including grief and loss.
The event will start at 9:30 a.m. in Moses Lake, then travel to Levern at 11 a.m. It will stop at Old Agency at 1:30 p.m. and end at the Kainai Wellness Centre at 3 p.m. Community members are encouraged to attend and obtain prayers and blessings from the Elders. Social distancing and other protocols will be practised during the Day of Prayer. A bagged lunch will be served at each location.
The Wellness Centre release adds many community members are saddened about the inability to feast and attend large gatherings such as funerals and cultural and social events. Members are encouraged to participate from each of the four communities to receive prayers.