A major new addition at Kapown Rehabilitation Centre in Kapawe’no Cree Nation in Grouard was celebrated at an official grand opening Aug. 18.
Kapawe’no Cree Nation and Kapown dedicated the building in the name of the late Hereditary Chief Frank Halcrow, who initiated the centre in the early 1980s. He passed away Jan. 2, 2020 at 76 years of age.
“It’s a special day for the family,” says Kapown board chair and Kapawe’no Chief Sydney Halcrow, brother of the late Halcrow.
“It’s a dream he had for many years.”
He also lauded the vision of the late Frank Halcrow, who made a huge impact on Indigenous communities and culture.
“He left us with a big legacy,” Chief Halcrow says.
“People have to know his dreams are coming true.”
Funding of $11.2 million for the project was provided by Indigenous Services Canada.
The addition accommodates 32 units with beds, with a private bathroom.
When the centre opened in 1983, the facility accommodated 32 beds to serve people of all cultures.
The new building also features a library, several large conference spaces, a full-sized commercial kitchen and massage and acupuncture therapy room.
Each treatment counsellor has a separate office and counselling rooms are available for other mental health professionals including Telehealth from Alberta Health Services.
Special rooms are available for clients to visit their families.
“Bringing this into reality has been in the works for 25 years, lobbying the government,” Chief Halcrow says.
“They played a major role in bringing this to reality.”
Longtime board member Jim Badger says the addition has been long overdue.
“It’s been a long time to get this building in place,” says Badger, a former longtime chief of the Sucker Creek First Nation.
“The community will benefit from it; there’s a lot of addictions in the province.”
Words of congratulations were expressed from Bethany Long of Indigenous Services Canada.
“It’s incredible what’s done here for mental health and addictions,” says Long, Alberta director of mental wellness of the First Nations and Inuit Health branch of ISC.
“Thank you for the work you do and for building the programs.”
A plaque inside the entrance recognizes Frank Halcrow and includes a powerful quote of inspiration from him.
“My wish for Kapawe’no, now and after my time is over, is to see not wealth or prosperity but contentment.
“People who are satisfied with what they have; people who are proud of what they are and have accomplished; people who look out for one another; people who care about their environment (both human and creator made); people who feel a sense of self -worth.
“None of this is unrealistic.
“What is unrealistic is to believe that we can have any of that without working hard to achieve it.”
Kapown is an accredited facility that serves more than 300 clients a year from all walks of life. It offers a six-month second-stage program that allows clients to learn life skills after completing their 56 days of residential treatment.
An outpatient program allows clients who cannot attend a residential treatment setting to still take part in treatment while maintaining employment and caring for their children at home.
by Richard Froese