Reconnecting After Dark Event 

By Kaylum Red Gun 

On January 31st, Siksika Health Services hosted a “Reconnecting After Dark” event, which brought many local community members together for a fun and informative night of crafting Tipis and enjoying tacos. 

The Reconnecting After Dark initiative is a collaborative effort hosted and organized by Siksika Health, Siksika Prevention and Early Intervention, Community Wellness, and Mental Health Services. All these Siksika-affiliated entities come together to provide an activity or event at the end of every month for the community. These events aim to strengthen relationships in the community while promoting and offering inclusivetly and activities for families and community members alike. 

The event was organized and hosted by community health services, who invited individuals and families from the community to participate in a fun and welcoming environment of crafting, informing, connecting, and enjoying Indian tacos together. The event was held at the Siksika Piiksapi Memorial Arbour and was filled with activities like slime making, tipi crafting, and even a prize draw where participants got a chance to win and take home some enticing prizes. The “Reconnecting after Dark” event/project aims to benefit the Siksika Nation as a whole and its members with its message of promoting connection as an opposition to addiction. 

This last event held many activities and information booths appealing to families, youth, and elders alike. Some of the activities include a slime-making station for the youth, which provided the kids who participated a chance to make and take home their very own slime creation, instructed by willing and friendly faces. 

The event also hosted a sensory inclusivity safe space for children who face sensory challenges in possibly overwhelming environments. This space was curated by Dr. Pearl Yellow Old Woman Healy, who specializes in children’s care, youth, and people with disabilities. The safe space at the event provided children with the option to view a movie with noise-canceling headphones together with chaperones and friends while also being provided with free snacks and refreshments. Another activity this event offered was being able to create and take home your very own handmade painted tipi, with instructors guiding members through the whole process. 

Members also got a chance to participate in a draw where some of them got to go home with great prizes and essentials. With plenty of activities and opportunities for the community to connect and come together, the Reconnecting After Dark initiative demonstrates the importance of connection and community involvement through healthy activities. 

The Reconnecting After Dark initiative is a means of collaboration and integration between Siksika services, all coming together under the same banner of improving the overall quality of life for Siksika and its members. They plan to do this by collaborating in curating events and activities and inviting families and nation members to join and participate in furthering 

their connection with the community through healthy activities. 

The last event was conceived mainly by Siksika Health Services, and the next planned event is said to be hosted by Siksika IRS Community Wellness and Mental Health, led by Pauline Yellowfly. This event will be a non-denominational candlelight vigil in honor of the late Reverend Margaret Waterchief held at the Siksika Piiksapi Memorial Arboretum on February 29, 2024, from 5-8 PM. They are once again inviting members and families of Siksika to come out and honor the late Reverend Margaret with guests from Siksika’s faith communities, traditional snacks and refreshments, live music, and a supervised area for kids to play and visit. 

In an interview about the event and its purpose, Tim Low Horn, a member of the Siksika Youth Prevention and Early Intervention Team, had this to say about the Reconnecting After Dark program and its efforts. 

“Through collaborating with Siksika Health and other departments, we aim to have more of the community and families engaged in positive social events. Thereby improving the quality of life for Siksika Nation and its members.” 

Vanessa Doore, the addictions team lead at Siksika Health Services, was also asked to give insight into her role and the event. Her area looks at treatment readiness for clients and the integration of services for addiction support. When asked, she had this to say about the initiative and what it entails. 

“By bringing the different agencies together, we aim to show the integration and collaboration between the different service providers in an effort to promote healthy interaction, connections, and relationships, as well as bringing families together. We believe that the opposite of addiction is connection!” 

It is a completely free, accessible, and inclusive space for members to gather from all families and walks of life.