Family, fun, vaccinations highlight Vaxx Fest in Morley

The Power of 100

Vaxx Fest provides community with 'shot in the arm' towards #Vaxx100

The Power of 100

Fridays are celebrated for being the end of most people’s workweek and kickoff to the weekend. September 24 brought added excitement to the Morley community with the launch of Vaxx Fest, an initiative of The Power of 100.

The Power of 100 is spearheaded by Indigenous drs. James Makokis and Lana Potts. The doctors felt a different approach was needed to reach the Indigenous community and help them overcome their vaccine hesitancy. Vaccination rates amongst Indigenous People in Alberta are low compared to the general population. 

The Power of 100 team has set a lofty goal of 100 percent vaccination amongst Indigenous Peoples across the country and chose the Stoney Nakoda First Nation for the first community to kick off this initiative .

 

A drive-in move night was already in the works and provided a great venue to mix together a fun-filled family night, connect with popular social media influencers like singer Team Ahkameyimok (Season 7 winners of the Amazing Race), Fawn Woods & Dallas Waskahat and emcee Kiitokii, and provide a venue for the community to ask questions of healthcare professionals and get vaccinated. Check out some of the video and photo footage below.

The Power of 100 is an Indigenous-led campaign to increase vaccination rates amongst Indigenous youth, to protect themselves and their communities. Power 100 is a celebration of Indigenous resiliency and action.  The Power of 100 focuses on the importance of keeping Indigenous communities safe while also celebrating community through live music, engagement with social-media influencers, drive-in movies and other activities. This is a chance to have fun while being in a safe environment, organized by Indigenous peoples and doctors for the health of the community.

Wathtech diabetes walking program

Wathtech Diabetes Walking Program

8 – Week Wathtech Diabetes Walk Program
12 – 1 pm 
Wesley Lodge

Each session will include a 30-minute walk followed by a 30-minute discussion of a diabetes-related topic.

For each session attended, receive a $20 gift card for the Fresh Routes Mobile Market. For 80% attendance of all sessions over the eight weeks, community members will receive a SodaStream.

Contact Mary Guetg or Mayra Regan (403-813-7331).

Stoney Health and The Power of 100 join forces

The Power of 100

The Power of 100 launches Vaxx Fest at Mînî Thnî Movie Night

Fun and festivities start at 4pm with a craft market
Featuring a double-bill
Luca at 5 pm and Mortal Kombat at 8pm
Join us at the Chiniki Rodeo Grounds

All are welcome. Come out with your families for a great night out. It is a great chance to meet popular Indigenous social media influencers and medical professionals, ask questions and for community members to get vaccinated. There will be prizes, food and loads of fun.

The Power of 100 is an Indigenous-led campaign to increase vaccination rates amongst Indigenous youth, to protect themselves and their communities. Power 100 is a celebration of Indigenous resiliency and action.  

The Power of 100 focuses on the importance of keeping Indigenous communities safe while also celebrating community through live music, engagement with social-media influencers, drive-in movies and other activities. This is a chance to have fun while being in safe environment, organized by Indigenous peoples and doctors for the health of the community. Vaccines will be made available at Power of 100 events for those who would like one. There is no requirement or pressure to have a vaccine.

Check out the image or The Power of 100 | Standing Together to Protect our Future for details.

COVID testing for negative test

Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing

Proof of Negative Test

If you require a negative COVID test to enter spaces participating in the Government of Alberta’s Restrictions Exemption Program, proof for your employer or to travel, you must get a privately-paid, Health Canada-approved PCR test completed within the previous 72 hours.

Stoney Health Services DOES NOT provide this testing. Only community members who currently have COVID symptoms can get tested at Stoney Health Services.

  • Valid test results should be a written or printed copy that clearly outlines the type of test, time of sample collection, clear indication of a negative result, and laboratory that completed the test, if applicable.
  • Photos of a rapid test result taken offsite is not sufficient.
  • Do not bring completed self-tests or rapid tests to businesses due to communicable disease risk.
  • Tests must not be from Alberta Health Services or Alberta Precision Laboratories.

Get your COVID Vaccination Record Online

COVID vaccination record

Get Your COVID Vaccination Record

Use the express system at alberta.ca/covidrecords to access your COVID-19 immunization record with QR code.

It is fast and easy – no myHealth account is needed.

  • Enter your personal healthcare number, birthdate, and the month and year of vaccination.
  • Download your card and print it out
  • Save it to your phone as a screen shot
This verifiable immunization record with QR code will be the only acceptable form of proof of vaccination for the Restrictions Exemption Program, as of November 15.
Having trouble? There may be up to a 2-week delay to get your online record after you receive your vaccination.

Important: Once you get your vaccination record, please keep it handy for future use. Îsniyes! 

School COVID Vaccination Program

Morley Community School COVID Vaccination Clinics

COVID-19 vaccination rates among Morley students are very low. To help prevent the virus’ spread and keep kids healthy and in school, getting a COVID vaccine for anyone 12+ is recommended.

The Morley Community School nurse is offering vaccine clinics to all students 12+ (born in 2009 or earlier).

Parents and caregivers check out the COVID Vaccine Information provided below and consider returning the signed vaccination consent form as soon as possible. You may also provide verbal consent directly to School Nurse Jillian Fenton (jillian.fenton@@stoneyeeducation.ca or 403-710-3393.

Note: Students 18 and under cannot get vaccinated without parent or guardian consent.

COVID-19 boosters (3rd doses) now available seniors and immunocompromised

Booster vaccines available

COVID Booster Shots - 3rd dose

Booster COVID-19 vaccines (3rd dose) are now available to Stoney Nakoda members – either seniors living in long-term care facilities or those with immunocompromised conditions, where six months have passed since their second dose.

Receiving a third dose will boost immunity levels and improve protection for those eligible.

Immunocompromising conditions that qualify:

  • Transplant recipients
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease who are receiving regular dialysis
  • Individuals in active cancer treatment (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapies) excluding those receiving only hormonal therapy, radiation therapy or surgery
  • People taking medication for certain autoimmune conditions

In addition, mRNA doses (Pfizer and Moderna) will be made available to Albertans who are traveling to a jurisdiction that does not accept
visitors who have been vaccinated with Covishield /AstraZeneca or mixed doses.

Meet the Team: Home and Community Care

Home and community care

The faces behind the home and community care team bring years of collective nursing experience, a love of community and a pride in what they do to their roles with Stoney Health. The home care team seeks to help clients live as independently and safely within the community as possible. The team provides supplementary care and support offered by family and the community.

In this first part of a two-part series (it’s a large team), we feature four staff who exude pride in what they do and who they care and support. Read on to learn more about some of Stoney Health’s valued frontline staff.

Anne Malimban, Home and Community Care Manager

If asked to describe her role as a title of a book, Anne offers The many hats I wear as a home care nurse manager, explaining that as a home care nurse, sometimes you need to respond in ways that are unpredictable and unexpected. "Working in home care typically means you are providing services in the individual’s home where you become resourceful when faced with challenges. You have a lot of autonomy that enables you to develop stronger clinical skills...You make a greater difference in the lives of your client because you get to spend so much one-on-one time with the client and their family in the comfort of their own home where you can develop trust and rapport. You get to see the client in their environment and each visit can be as varied as the clients themselves which keeps me stimulated and make the job more exciting."

After immigrating to Canada from the Philippines when she was 10, Anne started her nursing career with a medical/surgical unit in Alberta Health Services. Drawn to the people and culture, eventually she made her way to Stoney Health where she's been for the past 10 years.

In her free time, Anne is kept busy with two school-aged children. Her family spends their time being active - hiking, camping, snowboarding, skating and a full range of outdoor activities. She firmly believes in self care and you can probably find her in the kitchen baking and decorating cakes when she's not enjoying the great outdoors.

Naomi Kaquitts, Health Care Aide

Naomi began her role with Stoney Health two years ago as a First Nations' cultural liaison and recently transitioned to a health care aide at the beginning of September. Naomi is the proud mom to two children and also a pet mom of one cat. Being with her family, binge watching TV shows, reading, doing bead work, sewing and traveling top her list of interests and things to do when she has free time.

Now that she works with Stoney Health, she loves having a chance to offer support and help to the elders and people of the community. As a Stoney Nation member, she speaks both Stoney and English fluently. Speaking Stoney plays a big part of her job and she thanks for family for speaking it at home every day when she was younger.

Georgina Lefthand, Health Care Aide

Georgina's path to Stoney Health began with the gentle encouragement from her late Ena. When her mom was ailing, Georgina was there to help with her care. She watched her mom's home care workers enviously and recalls telling her mom how much she wished she could do that. Her mom responded, "You will one day when I leave (pass on). I will make sure of that."

Six months after her mom passed away, Georgina accepted a short-term contract with Stoney Health. She strongly believes that her late Ena made her wish come true. Now 17 years later she still serves her community and Elders with the same dedication and love for what she does.

Georgina is the second youngest of six and the daughter of residential school survivors. She is honoured to have grown up within a strict home environment and values her family's teachings. She is proud to be a single mother to three - one of whom also works for Stoney Health - and also a grandmother. She shares that her joy today comes from her family and watching them on their chosen paths.

Krista Nelson, Home Care Nurse

One of two Newfoundlanders in home care, Krista graduated from nursing in the mid-90s and headed west to Alberta. She spent several years at Foothills Hospital before moving to Vancouver Island where she worked in home and long-term care.

Along with her husband and kids (now teens), she returned to Alberta in 2016 and started working in Morley. They've since added a few cats and a puppy to their family. Needless to say, there's not a lot of "Krista time" at the end of the day.

She credits Stephanie, also a home care nurse and long-time friend who she met during nursing school, for encouraging her to apply for a position with Stoney Health.

To her, "Morley is an amazing place to work and I love the diversity that home care provides. Each day brings something new and challenging."

Whole-heartedly believing she won the nursing lottery with the 'best job ever,' she loves working with the Stoney Nakoda people. She's always felt welcomed into their homes where she's met so many wonderful people over the past five years.

Stephanie Shelstad, Home Care Nurse

The other Newfoundlander on the home care team, Stephanie reigns from Bell Island, a small island off the Newfoundland coast where boat is the only mode of transport to get in or out. She graduated from nursing in St. John's and moved to Alberta to pursue her career back in the late 1990s, working in maternity at Foothills Hospital and a short stint in Primary Care in Cochrane.

She joined Stoney Health as an opportunity to branch out and try a new area of nursing and loves learning about the people, hearing their stories and learning about the culture and language. She even will attempt a Stoney phrase now and then to make people giggle with her pronunciation.

Interacting with community members is what she enjoys most about home care. Helping others and making them feel better when their health isn’t the greatest and assisting them to access services to improve their wellbeing in the comforts of their own home also keep her motivated.

Stephanie is a baking enthusiast and loves making cakes, really ALL THINGS CAKE! When not covered in flour, she enjoys spending time with friends playing cards or chatting around a roaring fire surrounded by her husband, two step children and their twins. You know she's busy in her spare (if any) time.

In closing she offered, "Most of my career I thought maternity nursing was where all the fun was…then I became a nurse on a First Nation Reserve."

Suzanne Sihikal, Home Care Nurse

Suzanne is an indigenous nurse who hails from Treaty 1 Territory. She graduated from nursing 33 years ago at the mere age of 7. 😉 She has spent most of her career in the great white north - the real north, way past Edmonton - sampling nearly every area of nursing before landing happily in home care.

With a passion for First Nations' health, Suzanne firmly believes in a holistic approach to wellness and health and loves seeing people in their own homes. She feels it is an honour to be part of their healing journey.

When she's not working, you can find Suzanne off hiking, biking, paddling or simply enjoying the outdoors. She claims that she will never be able to retire as her two young, very independent girls keep pursing biathlon at the national and international level, while also attending post-secondary school. She self-titled her autobiography Second chances, Third chances, Fourth Chances believing you can try to attain any dream possible. Getting up and continuing the race is just as important as winning.

Natisha Snow, Home Care Nurse

Working as a home care nurse for Stoney Health Services and meeting Nation members for the first time or seeing them again after many years away have highlighted Natisha's return to work. She missed the humor, the laughs, and especially the language.

Now that she's hearing the Stoney language more, she's started to listen more, recognizing the importance of keeping the language alive with and for her children. She hopes to gain the community’s trust as she works her way from a new grad to an experienced Licensed Practical Nurse. She's passionate about her role here and hopes to make a difference within the community for generations to come. In her words, "If you had told me 10 years ago that I would come back to Mînî Thnî and work as a nurse, I never would have believed you. I left for Calgary back in 2011 for better opportunities and although it was uncomfortable being in a big city alone and I missed my family—I knew I had to tough it out."

She goes on further, "Growth is uncomfortable, it’s something you’ve never done before or worked towards because sitting and waiting for opportunities is easier. Starting off as a statistic (teen mom) to now is what drives me to go further and learn as much as I can." That’s why she would title a book about her journey as “Look at You Go” because it describes her current momentum.

Recently, she's become a car enthusiast and attended car shows/meets/races for the past two summers. Introduced by her husband, she's been obsessed ever since, saying "He is also a mechanic so If you’ve ever heard my little Golf roar to life at the Wesley Lodge well then you know it wasn’t my idea."

Watêjabîgê Youth Camp carries on Stoney traditional teachings

Watêjabîgê Day Youth Camp carries on valued hunt and harvest traditions

Throughout August 2021, Stoney youth (aged 12-24) engaged in a day camp organized by Stoney Health Service’s Iyarhe Nakoda Youth program. A program supporting Stoney youth identity through practices rich in culture and tradition. 

Hunting, harvesting and preparing the hunt were this year’s focus.  Youth, camp coordinators and volunteers set off to locations around the reserve to participate in the day’s featured event. Each day was unique but when possible featured valuable teachings and guidance passed along from Stoney Elders and knowledge keepers, including Chief Clifford Poucette (Wesley First Nation) and Chief Aaron Young (Chiniki First Nation).

The first few week was grounded in foundational teaching. Some youth attained their firearms license and safety training while others fished, learned archery and hand games. Presentations from special guests rounded out the week: Alberta Fish and Wildlife shared info on indigenous hunting rights on and off-reserve, supported by the RCMP, while Stoney Fire Department offered fire safety tips and ways to safely set up a smokehouse.

Once the youth had the basic knowledge, they spent just over a week building smokehouses. This involved cutting trees for poles for the smokehouse. Once they had cut and collected the necessary amount, the group built a smokehouse at several lucky homes around the reserve. One smokehouse took the group about three hours to build including stripping the bark and building the structure. The youth also spent an afternoon at the rifle range and for some this was the first time they had shot a hunting rifle. 

The third and final week built on all of the previous weeks’ teachings with hunts and harvests and concluded with the event most looked forward to – the feast! Some youth participated in hunting and one youth harvested their first kill. The remaining group harvested wild mint, picked cranberries and blueberries. The youth were taught to skin and butcher the deer and began preparing the harvest for the week’s big feast at which the community gathered to celebrate and share in the harvest. Check out some highlights from the camp featured in photo galleries below.

Îsniyes – thank you to all who participated – community leaders, Elders, facilitators, the local RCMP detachment, Stoney Fire Department and Alberta Fish and Game staff. Most importantly, a big shout out to the youth and their parents for their commitment and enthusiasm for the program and its teachings. We hope to see you at activities this fall and plan for next year’s camp!

Building a smokehouse

Preparing the feast: all hands on deck

A Tribute to Residential School Survivors

In tribute and support of residential school survivors

The alarming news confirming hundreds of unmarked graves at the former residential school on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation near Kamloops sparked outrage this spring. It also renewed trauma for First Nations’ survivors and families of those loved ones who never returned. 

Now months later, thousands of graves have been uncovered across Canada. More are expected as First Nations’ communities continue the discovery process and determine how best to honour the memory of those who died, as well as support survivors.

Cultural Liaison Jeanette Wildman thanks those attending the tribute and shares some of history of residential schools in the Morley area.
Elder Tina Poucette shares her residential school experience

Stoney Nakoda Survivors

In Morley, there were one residential school, one orphanage on Jamieson Road east of Morley and three day school buildings, one of which is now the site of the current high school.

Stoney Health cultural liaison and residential school survivor Jeanette Wildman met with Nation Elders to determine an appropriate way to help the community grieve and continue the healing journey. 

At the Elders’ request, a tribute ceremony was scheduled in late August in advance of kids returning to school. 

Nation members were invited to share in the sacredness of a pipe ceremony and smudge.

Following the healing prayer service, Jeanette hosted a small ceremony for the larger community reflecting on her own experiences and sharing some of the atrocities and abuse that have been shared with her from family and community elders.

Survivors share experiences. Offer ways to encourage healing.

Survivors were welcome to come up and say a few words. Elder Tina Poucette and Chiniki Councilor Verna Powderface reflected on their experiences and offered insight into the community’s pain and grief.

Elder Poucette shared her perspectives on how survivors and the community might move forward. “We need a lot of healing in our communities. The social problems. The addictions, family violence…all are because of residential schools. We need to heal somehow so can learn to move forward without bitterness so that we an learn to forgive what happened to us.” 

She went on to confide, “Personally speaking, I had to learn to forgive. Forgiving someone frees you from that bondage to that person.”

After providing a brief background into Nation members distrust of non-community members, Councilor Verna Powderface spoke directly to those non-Nation members attending and advised on how to work with and in the community. She noted that “we were taught that everything is connected. That is the teaching of our ways. We lost some of our connection to the universe after contact.”

“You need to understand that intergenerational trauma extends beyond survivors to include their children and grandchildren,” she offered. “Understand that First Nation’s people are not how we choose to be. This is how we were made to be [through contact and assimilation]”. 

In closing she offered, “Try to understand and do the best you can.”

With guidance from the community, Jeanette plans to present more residential school workshops and offer survivors the opportunity to tell their stories.

A community walk is planned for National Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30. All are welcome!

Unity and healing mark ‘Walk to Remember’

Unity and healing mark 'Walk to Remember'

The weather held out providing a great scene for A Walk to Remember marking International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. The Mînî Thnî community gathered to remember those lives tragically lost due to overdose, and educate and build awareness about the drug epidemic facing the community. (Article continues below).

Over 70 people gathered at the Stoney Tribal Administration and listened as community elders and leaders relived their own experiences – often sharing memories of a sibling, a child or other family member who had tragically passed away. Leaders called for a grassroots approach and challenged all community members and organizations to work together to overcome the harmful effects of addiction and help those who feel alone and unable to seek the help and support they need.

“The amount of overdose deaths has been heartbreaking,” noted organizer Alanna Kaquitts who works with the crisis support team. “It’s important to continue educating all community members about reducing the stigma and promote healing. As well, we need to continually inform community members who use drugs that they are not alone. They’re loved and that there is help (if they want it).”

Help is available. Along with first responders (Nakoda Emergency Management and the RCMP), the Mînî Thnî Crisis Support team is available as a 2nd or 3rd crisis responder or offer preventative support grounded in cultural and traditional practices for Nation members.

Counselors are available to provide grief, addiction and substance use counseling and the medical team provides treatments such as suboxone to help manage addictions and free Narcan/naloxone kits to respond to an opioid overdose. Contact 403-881-3920 for information and support.

Our hearts go out to the family members who walked some clutching a photo of a loved one who had died due to opioid poisoning. Thank you for allowing us to share in your grief and pay tribute to your loved one’s memory.

Special thanks to our community leaders and partner organizations.

  • Wesley First Nation Councilors Krista Hunter and Hank Snow
  • Bearspaw First Nation Councilor Anthony Bearspaw
  • Partners from Nakoda Emergency Services, Fire and the local RCMP detachment for your support and assistance with traffic control and keeping our walkers safe on the 3.5 km journey to the Chiniki Community Kitchen
  • All other organizations and community members who participated

We pledge to work together to raise awareness and continue offering resources and support to the community.