June 19th, 2024

Mothers demand action on Blood Tribe overdose crisis

By Lethbridge Herald on June 17, 2021.

Herald photo by Tim Kalinowski Local mothers of the Blood Tribe who have lost children and other family members to overdoses demanded more action on drug crisis from Blood Tribe leadership on Thursday.

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
Members of the Blood Tribe, mainly mothers who have lost loved ones to drug overdoses, held a solemn march from Red Crow Park up the hill in Standoff ending outside of the Blood Tribe Administration building on Thursday.
The group of mothers held up photos of the children and other loved ones they lost to drugs in the community to demand more action from Blood Tribe leadership on the overdose crisis on the First Nation.
“I lost two kids two years ago,” said Shannon Eagle Speaker, who spoke on behalf of the group of a dozen mothers and their supporters. “One was 15 through overdose. The other was 19 four months later. They were four months apart, and they overdosed.”
Eagle Speaker said the death of her children nearly destroyed her as well as she dealt with the grief.
“I almost gave up in life,” she admitted. “I almost took my own life because I wanted to be with my kids, but I also had two others to look after. I turned to drinking, and I seen how I was hurting more of my kids the more I was hurting.
Eagle Speaker was able to pull herself back from the brink, but knows there are many mothers, like herself, suffering on Blood Tribe lands.
“I see a lot of these kids nowadays suffering every day,” she said. “The drinking, the drugs, and all we could do is pray for them. They didn’t ask to be in this world, and to be brought up and treated the way they are treated because the parents don’t have their drugs.”
Eagle Speaker said life is not getting any easier as she almost lost a third child to an overdose just one month ago, but it is important to persevere and go forward.
“Hang in there, be strong,” Eagle Speaker said. (Your child) is going to be in your heart the rest of your life, and prayers really do work. Talk to them.
“If you don’t move on forward then you are going to be stuck in that bubble,” she added, “and you have to get yourself out of that bubble.”
Elder William Crow Chief helped lead the solemn procession.
“The Creator sees what we are doing,” he said in Blackfoot and then in English, “and he is helping us.”
Crow Chief and Elder Roger Prairie Chicken concluded the march by leading the women in a prayer for all their lost loved ones, and for all the mothers grieving the same loss on the Blood Tribe. The participants then tied ribbons filled with tobacco to the nearby trees in remembrance of those who have died as local drummers played an honour song.
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pursuit diver

We also have watched too many die from addictions in Lethbridge and the answers have to come from within your community. Change must begin in your homes, in your leadership and a strong stance must be set against drugs.
Don’t allow anyone to sell you on opening safe consumption sites and supplying all the needs users require to continue their addiction.
Study the issues in BC, in the Vancouver DTES and see how harm reduction has failed, with 18 years of growing fatal overdoses, increased numbers of addicts, crime and homelessness. The first site opened in 2003. These sites are killing machines that enable addicts to slowly kill themselves!
Treatment programs that actually work along with good policing is what works. There needs to be a dedicated gang unit to deal with the indigenous gangs who could care a less for the addicts, they will do anything it takes to sell more drugs! See it for what it is!