Traditional Blackfoot singing helped usher in the newest partnership between the University of Lethbridge and Blood Tribe Department of Health.
A special naming event for the project was held on Tuesday in Stand Off, Alta.
“Sokkinakia’pi is the name of the partnership,” says Charles Weaselhead, vice-chair of the Blood Tribe Department of Health.
The name means “all that has to do with healing or health.”
The initiative builds off a memorandum of understanding signed by each organization in 2022.
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According to staff with the U of L, it was made to honour the health-related calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to expand on health services capacity on the Blood Tribe.
Now the first phase has begun.
“We also are embarking on advocacy for a pathway to higher education for our young people, especially in the area of health,” added Weaselhead.
The overall goal of the initiative is to build upon the existing Kainai health services plan to identify health needs, tools and resources for the Blood Tribe over the next 10 to 12 years.
“Giving opportunity to our members to have training, jobs, those are the things that are very strong,” says Derrick Fox, CEO of the Blood Tribe Department of Health.
Once needs are assessed the project will move to training and recommendations for health priorities and career pathways will be developed for community members.
“We know the addictions, mental health crisis is something that has been facing us for many, many years, based on the trauma that our people have gone through,” added Fox.
This project is Indigenous-driven and will be the first of its kind.
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