ARCHIVED - Blood Tribe Family and Child Services

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"Our Children, Our Responsibility, Our Families, Our Future." This is an underlying principle adopted by southern Alberta's Blood Tribe. Since 1996, the Blood Tribe of southern Alberta have worked tirelessly in achieving their goal to help children become positive members of the community through holistic programming. Using a hands on approach with elder participation, the Blood Tribe is proving that children are a valuable community resource through innovative community delivered social programs.

Transcript: Blood Tribe

In Southwestern Alberta, the land of the Blood Tribe stretches magnificently before the foothills of the Rockies, farther than the eye can see.

The Blood Tribe, or Kainai, of the Blackfoot Confederacy, have lived here for thousands of years.

It is the largest First Nation territory in Canada, with a Band membership of approximately 10,000.

There are seven communities within its boundaries, with the seat of government and its administration based in the town of Standoff.

The Chief and Council, along with the Blood Tribe Administration, oversee a multitude of programs and services.

Among the most important are those delivered through the Kainaiwa Children's Services Corporation.

The Blood Tribe gained delegated authority over family and children's services in 1996.

With a staff of more than 100 people, Kainaiwa Children's Services Corporation works with those children and families in need of support and protection.

Their goal is to see children become positive, healthy, contributing members of their community, through holistic programming based on traditional values.

The many family and children's services are divided into two program areas – Child Protection Services and Prevention and Support Services, dealing with family and child-related situations before they reach more critical stages.

Program delivery includes everything from parenting skills to supporting youth at risk.

An initiative, known as the Kainai Government Agreement, is currently underway to allow for the development of a comprehensive child welfare code that will be designed specifically for Blood Tribe families and children by Blood Tribe authorities.

One of the most influential programs administered through the Kainaiwa Children's Services is the Blood Tribe Youth Ranch.

This holistic facility on the reserve accommodates troubled youth from the child welfare system, between the ages of 11 and 17, who spend three to six months in a special in-residence program in a healthy, caring environment.

Instructors teach the full spectrum of academic subjects, and life skills, with an emphasis on healing through spiritual and cultural teachings.

With the guidance of skilled teachers and mentors, the daily smudging ceremony is a powerful reminder for the youth to learn about their culture and heritage, and to deal positively with their own issues.

Kainaiwa Children's Services youth programs deal with a full range of adolescent issues, from the immediate needs of those in the Adolescent and Alcohol Treatment Centre to the establishment of the Blood Tribe Youth Council.

The Council is made up of young people from the reserve who gather to creatively deal with a variety of issues affecting them.

Initiatives are underway, such as a bullying workshop to give youth alternatives and hands-on solutions to problems they may face.

Elders are an integral part of Youth Council meetings, providing guidance and passing along their traditions and wisdom, through cultural and spiritual teachings.

The naming ceremony is one of these traditions, in which a young person is given their Blood Tribe name, to carry with them for life.

The vision of the legendary Blood Chief, Red Crow - who was a signatory of Treaty 7 - of healthy, thriving and prosperous families is what the Blood Tribe Elders, Chief and Council, and hundreds of dedicated and qualified staff are working to realize today for the future of their most valued resources, their children.

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