Drug Crisis State of Local Emergency Called by Blood Tribe Chief and Council – April 19, 2023

Blood Tribe Opioid Response Community Update


April 19, 2023

Drug Crisis State of Emergency Called by Blood Tribe Chief and Council

On April 17th, Blood Tribe Chief and Council announced it will provide more than $1.5 million of Tribe sourced revenue to combat the drug trafficking crisis on the Blood Reserve in the upcoming year. Makiinima, Chief Roy Fox, addressed the community in a two-hour livestream which included immediate actions the leadership decided will be the best course of action for the short and long term. A Band Council Resolution (BCR) was signed at a special council meeting prior to the announcement that outlined the immediate actions leadership committed to for the short and long-term.

“We have sought recommendations from our key administrators and front-line workers on the actions that could be taken in curbing and alleviating the sale and use of those illegal and dangerous drugs,” Makiinima said, “We are all aware of the increase in overdoses and deaths amongst our people resulting from the use of opioids and other harmful drugs.”

The Blood Tribe Department of Health (BTDH) has responded to the drug crisis with therapies for Blood Tribe members in their service delivery to an individual at any point of their recovery. Although the current supports are effective, we need more. Council has now identified the importance of directing efforts towards drug crime prevention and called for more family and community involvement.

“With Chief and Council, we really looked at ways to combat this but we need your help. Community, we need your help,” said Blood Tribe Councillor Winston Day Chief who also identified the deteriorating conditions of housing units on the Reserve which included the making of drugs which causes harm, drug possession and evidence of weapons.

Last month, Council met with Blood Tribe Administration Departments and Entities to review the social impacts of the drugs is having on community. In a two-day meeting on March 9 and 10th, Council heard from 17 representatives from departments and entities, along with Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, Dr. Sue Christensen, Dr. Neil Fox, and BTDH staff on the current situation on the Reserve. Incidents of increased fatalities due to drug poisonings, increased evictions of housing units due damages and criminal activity, waitlists for detox and treatment programs, child development concerns seen from educators, disconnection from culture, mental health of community members, the need for grief and loss supports. Directors and managers provided recommendations for Council to consider in their decisions on how to face these impacts on community.

Chief and Council met on March 13, 2023 to review the recommendations and discuss the immediate steps to address the crisis. A BCR was then presented and passed unanimously on April 17, 2023 to call on a State of Emergency for the Blood Tribe and outlined the actions to be taken and long-term to prepare for.

Immediate Actions:

  • Re-enact the State of Emergency for the Blood Reserve
  • Special funding towards Blood Tribe Police Task Force that will target drug trafficking
  • Blood Tribe Foot Patrol will implement a new mandate
  • Re-instate a curfew for the townsite communities – 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. beginning April 24, 2023
  • Provide housing repairs for damaged or destroyed units involved in drug use and abuse
  • Immediate removal of Non-Blood Tribe members that are involved in drug trafficking and immediate eviction of those engaged in illegal drug activities
  • Increase rewards for tips to Crime Stoppers program related to drug trafficking activities

Chief and Council, key administrators, and community members spoke in a livestream broadcast on April 17th regarding the drug addiction crisis and asking Blood Tribe members to work together to combat this serious problem. The full-length version of the Special Announcement can be viewed on YouTube Blood Tribe Communications channel or on our website bloodtribe.org. Please note that most Blackfoot speakers will follow with an English version immediately after.

Key Addresses:

  • Makiinima, Chief Roy Fox starts with Blackfoot address 4:06, English at 5:27
  • Councillor, Tribal Government Chair, Dorothy First Rider address starts at 11:40
  • Councillor, Public Service Rep. Winston Day Chief address starts at 15:57
  • Councillor, BTDH Chair, Martin Heavy Head address starts at 19:50
  • Chief Executive Officer of BTDH, Derrick Fox address starts 23:15
  • Director of BT Housing, Rachel Tailfeathers address starts at 29:50
  • Councillor, Blood Tribe Police Commission Rep. Travis Plaited Hair address starts at 31:11
  • Acting Chief of Blood Tribe Police Service, Grant Buckskin address starts 37:38
  • Community Representative and 6 years in Drug Recovery, Cory Little Shields 1:20:56

We have more addresses from Council representatives: Maria Russell, Diandra Bruised Head, Richard Red Crow, Piinaakoyim Tailfeathers, Tony Delaney, Floyd Big Head, Marcel Weasel Head, Clarence Black Water

Blood Tribe Communications and Community Engagement will continue to provide updates as the Tribe works to respond to this community emergency. Questions? Email us at [email protected].

Makiinima, Blood Tribe Chief Roy Fox announces Band Council Resolution in regards to the Opioid Crisis on April 17, 2023 in Standoff, Alberta. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

Band Council Resolution regarding the Opioid Crisis passed by Blood Tribe Chief and Council on April 17, 2023 in Standoff, Alberta. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

Blood Tribe community member Ramona Big Head addressing the Moses Lake Community Potluck & Memorial to honour those lost to the Opioid Crisis near Cardston, Alberta on April 16, 2023. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

Photos of loved ones lost to the Opioid Crisis at the Moses Lake Community Potluck & Memorial event near Cardston, Alberta on April 16, 2023. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

Blood Tribe Housing Director Rachel Tailfeathers addresses the public at the Blood Tribe Housing Community Meeting held on March 21, 2023 in Standoff, Alberta. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

Members of the Blood Tribe attending the Blood Tribe Housing Community Meeting held at the Multi-Purpose Building in Standoff, Alberta on March 21, 2023. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

Yellow Gun Singers including Colt Tailfeathers, Riley Big Sorrel Horse, and Keegan Rain at the Aatsimoyihkaan – Day of Prayer event held at the Spirit of Hope Community House in Standoff, Alberta on April 5, 2023. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

Drummer Colt Tailfeathers from the Yellow Gun Singers at the Aatsimoyihkaan – Day of Prayer event helt at the Spirit of Hope Community House in Standoff, Alberta on April 5, 2023. (Photo: Blaire Russell)

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