The ceremony marks the beginning of the development of the community center. (Elliott Knopp/Windspeaker Media
The facility will allow the First Nation to keep displaced children in the community rather than having them transported to programs in other communities.
Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation is taking action to reduce the number of local children displaced from their community.
On Monday, the First Nation held a groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of a new group home for young people. During the announcement, Chief Tony Alexis said nearly 6,700 Indigenous children are currently in the care of Alberta Children’s Services.
“These stats are not good, and it’s work we need to do without relying on outside sources to help solve this problem,” he said.
“We want to do it in-house, so this building is going to provide that environment.”
The center will include 12 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a common area and a kitchen. (Image credit/Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation)
The new facility will serve as a youth group home and transitional housing. It is funded by the First Nation’s partnerships with SME, the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada.
Once operational, the house will allow displaced children to remain in the community where they can grow up surrounded by their culture and receive more specialized care.
Elder Martha Letendre said the project would help the community pass on its culture to future generations, rather than losing them to a program in another community.
“We need our own crisis unit,” she suggested.
“We have lots of grandmothers, aunts and uncles who can take care of these children when they are apprehended on the reserve. Instead, they go to a crisis unit in Edmonton.
Although the design for the facility has not been finalized, construction is expected to be completed sometime in the summer of 2023.
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