April 21st, 2024

Local group continues effort towards care facility for city’s vulnerable

By Herald on May 11, 2021.

Alvin Mills, of the Kii Maa Pii Pii Tsin Renewal Center, prepares sandwiches for the city's vulnerable population Tuesday afternoon at Galt Gardens. Herald photo by Dale Woodard

Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald

Some local groups are banding together in the hopes of one day having a facility for the city’s vulnerable population in the fight against the ongoing opioid crisis.

On Tuesday afternoon, Alvin Mills of the Kii Maa Pii Pii Tsin Renewal Center teamed up with Mark Braverock of Sage Clan to hand out free sandwiches and refreshments to those needing a meal.

As he prepared to hand out the bagged food, Mills said it remains his goal to have a care facility for the vulnerable population and has been talking with the City about making the goal a reality.

“Kii Maa Pii Pii Tsin is a Blackfoot word which translates into “Kindness To Others, Caring For Others, Have Pity On Others.” Kii Maa Pii Pii Tsin is very significant in the Blackfoot culture. It’s part of our way of life,” said Mills. “So when I formed his organization our mandate has always been to support the at-risk and vulnerable population that are here in Lethbridge. We’re still in the baby steps of working with the City and also working with a couple of entities such as Sage Clan and the Blackfoot Lodge. It has always been my dream to create an after-care facility. I’ve already got a program that is trauma and grief-exclusive as part of the recovery. We’re also going to implement suicide intervention. The program will also have a culture component. So we’re collaborating with the stakeholders in the city and also with Rachel Harder’s office. We can go forth in fighting this opioid crisis. I think all entities that join forces to fight this as it’s overwhelming our population.”

Mills said Kii Maa Pii Pii Tsin Renewal Center and Sage Clan are a grassroots organization.

“We reach out to the people and treat them as how people should be treated,” said Mills. “Everybody deserves that dignity and kindness. Just because of the choices we make, we shouldn’t be treated differently.”

Mill said right now they can start addressing the trauma and grief aspect for the vulnerable.

“We know this crisis we’re facing, the numbers are getting higher,” he said. “The situation is dire and we’re out there constantly trying to help the people on the street and if we can create this facility, maybe they’d have a place to go rather than struggling here on the street. We also want to connect them with the resources that are available on the Blood Reserve.”

As such, Mills said they’ve been in talks with the city about acquiring some space.

“They’ve suggested creating an Indigenous Blackfoot Recovery facility to accommodate the high number of Indigenous population who are here in the city. Now we’ll continue talks with the Blackfoot Lodge and Sage Clan,” said Mills. “I’m hoping we see some action within the next month. This way we can try and help the ones struggling. Sage Clan has been out here constantly and we’ve been working together with my organization and now with Blackfoot Lodge coming on board. We’re local and we know the people. So we have that rapport with them already.”

Which made Tuesday afternoon’s outing important, noted Braverock.

“This is just making a connection, connection is a big thing” he said. “We may all be the same race, Blackfoot, which is an advantage and Lethbridge has to take advantage. But in order to make a dent in this a connection has to be made. Also, in addictions and homelessness, it’s the same thing. A connection is a big thing. And that’s what the bagged lunches are.”

Braverock said Sage Clan is out at all hours on the front lines monitoring the situation.

“Even late into the 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. hours,” he said. “We see what’s going on and we see the people who come out. So we have a good perspective. We see who is showing up, too.”

Braverock said COVID brought out a lot of people when the city was in a lockdown.

“Those people you’d see out late at night and in all places of the city, now you’re starting to see them downtown. It’s going to multiply, the number of people. And the real tragic thing is the young people are coming out now, also. So you’re going to see a real escalation in the amount of people using and the amount of activity surrounding the drug trade, the use and the selling of it.”

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You state, “young people are coming out … you’re going to see a real escalation in activity surrounding the drug trade, the use and the selling of it.
You also state, “We also want to connect them with the resources that are available on the Blood Reserve.”
Lethbridge has to take advantage
Question – why are ‘your’ people coming to Lethbridge and not staying on their reservations?
Q … Why are you feeding your people but not insisting that they clean up after themselves? We’re sick of seeing new articles of clothing and garbage of every type strewn about our city.
We’re sick of seeing natives riding around on stolen bicycles.
Mr. Mills, Blackfoot Lodge and Sage Clan …. do Lethbridge a favor and put pressure on the Blood Reserve so your people stay on the reserve.
** Build a treatment facility on your land and offer not only counselling but parenting skills. *Poor Parenting* is the root cause of all your (and now our) problems. Unloading your problems on our city is increasing racism.

Seth Anthony

In similar indigenous endeavors and letters, not once have I seen anyone address the source of the problem. The source being an astonishing 39% of babies born on the blood reserve are addicted to narcotics. Note that the number does not include the percentage of babies born with FAS. Why is this happening? Well, I used to work on that reserve with a few coworkers, and here is what we experienced:

Rampant racism. Enough so, that some of us didn’t want to keep returning. It wasn’t just from the adults either. It often included kids throwing rocks at us and yelling out profanities and racial slurs. Either advertently or inadvertently, the kids are being taught to be hateful, angry, and shameful. Those are painful psychological characteristics that easily get quenched via drug and alcohol abuse. Is it any wonder why their addiction rate is extraordinarily high? It seems to me that much better parenting skills are needed.

This letter is related to this one:


In reference to the above link, our so called teachers, leaders, and the social justice warriors, get some bizarre and twisted gratification in teaching kids shame, divisiveness, and hate.

Last edited 2 years ago by Seth Anthony
Citi Zen

Put it on the reserve.

Kal Itea

What the law says

Hate speech falls under Section 319 of the Canadian Criminal Code.

Under the heading “Willful promotion of hatred,” Section 319.2 states that “every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group” is guilty of a criminal offence.

Seth Anthony

Ya, so???

pursuit diver

Sage Clan does great work and I know their heart is in the right place, BUT the more services you provide, the more people it will attract. No studies are needed to prove this. It has been witnessed in Alberta since 2015 and in BC since 2003.
Vancouver is the best example that providing more services is not the answer.
Dealing with the issues that causes people to be on the streets is the answer!
In this city, we have a large representation of First Nations on our streets for many reasons, but mostly from addictions. There are some that can’t go for a holiday and want to get off their communities and they will come to Lethbridge to wander our streets and get drunk or get high for a change, lasting for a few weeks, staying in the shelter or with friends that have a place, or just in the park. This has been ongoing for years and was never been dealt with, instead it magnified.
We allowed it, even though they cannot get away with it in their own communities, we allow and pay for it!
Better weather is on the way and along with it will come more people on our streets, more drug and alcohol abuse on our streets, more mess on our streets and more crime on our streets. BECAUSE WE ALLOW IT!
We are called names such as racist or colonialist when we try to defend our properties and city. Is it helping the perpetrators? Of course not, because many end up dying on our streets, some in just 6 months on the streets, others within 5 years! We are not helping them, we are killing them slowly and painfully!
The more services you provide, the more you will attract and the more will die!
Your heart is in the right place being compassionate, but it is in the wrong area of support! AND when you drop off the food and drinks when you walk around the city handing it out, the wrappers and other garbage are just thrown on the streets around businesses, left for us to clean up!

Last edited 2 years ago by pursuit diver