January 22nd, 2021

Mills has hopes for healing

By Woodard, Dale on July 27, 2020.

Dale Woodard

Lethbridge Herald – Standoff

Having worked the front lines in the battle against opioids on the Blood Reserve, Alvin Mills, a peer support worker at the Bringing Home The Spirit detox centre in Standoff knows a little kindness can go a long way.

“At one point I really struggled with that. That’s why I’m so passionate in helping my people here,” said Mills Saturday afternoon in Standoff as Premier Jason Kenney announced a $10-million capital investment to support construction of two recovery communities in Lethbridge County and the Blood Tribe First Nation.

“The sad reality of the opioid crisis is it has affected a lot of the Indigenous population. With the opioid crisis, it has affected every member of the Blood Tribe and I think the Blood Tribe has been adversely affected by the opioid crisis on a per capita basis.”

Kimmapiiypitsinni in Blackfoot means “kindness to others” and is a grassroots organization, said Mills, who used to have an organization named the Foundation Of Hope that is now called the Renewal and Healing Foundation.

“When I created this organization it was to support the at-risk, vulnerable population in Lethbridge,” he said. “In my organization, our mandate is to help the ones who struggle with opioid and meth addiction. I’m out there constantly and sometimes when you show compassion and you show you care on the streets, that’s all they need.”

Saturday’s announcement included 50 beds at Lethbridge County’s recovery community and 75 beds at the Blood Tribe First Nation community.

“Now with Mr. Kenney making his announcement it’s going to really help the community as a whole,” said Mills. “I’ve been advocating for a renewal centre for people when they get out of treatment where they can go up to a year and address the trauma and the grief recovery.

“Those are the two main issues for people who are struggling (that) come back to you and that’s why we were so entrenched in that lifestyle and when we don’t have the means to help us, that’s when that trauma and grief recovery works.”

Mills has been working with the Bringing Home The Spirit organization for over a year.

“I’m really happy there are 24 beds,” he said. “That is 24 beds where people can come in and start experiencing their withdrawal. It will open the doors for our program to start doing trauma workshops and grief recovery workshops. So I embrace Premier Kenney’s announcement in helping our community here.”

Mills said Saturday’s announcement will save lives.

“The consumption site was a good idea, but it just enhanced the struggles we had,” he said. “So with recovery, we need to start getting people into detox so they can start experiencing that recovery without the use of opioids and meth. This is a stepping stone and it’s going to be good. It’s in its initial stages, but for my organization, we’re that much closer to creating renewal and healing. We’re here from the Blood Reserve and I look forward to working with the Blood Tribe to keep fighting this fight.”

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