KIMAMOW ATOSKANOW FOUNDATION (KAF)
We asked the advice of our knowledge keepers and cultural mentors on how to work through the challenges we were facing in health, education, culture, and social systems. The direction we received was to unite our efforts where possible and learn from each other on what approaches work at personal and professional levels. Our name, Kimamow Atoskanow Foundation, translated from Cree into English, means “We all work together.”
KAF recognizes that combining the energy, efforts, and resources of our community allows us to accomplish more. Since 1987 we have been working together to address HIV/AIDS, addictions, and related issues. We were incorporated under the Alberta Societies Act in 1992 as a “Not for Profit” organization. We are also registered as a charitable organization with the Canada Charities Directorate.
KAF adapts to the needs and trends of matters affecting Indigenous / Aboriginal peoples. We use terminology that fits the situation we are working in. There have been numerous changes to legislated identities of Indigenous / Aboriginal peoples, and this is reflected in the language and descriptors we use in our work. First Nations and Métis people are the focus of our project efforts. We include participants, support networks, and service providers, who may not identify as Indigenous / Aboriginal but work with us.
KAF is the only rural, land-based Aboriginal HIV/AIDS service organization in Canada. We provide mobile information and support services across Alberta (Treaty 8, Treaty 6, Treaty 7), with networks extending into British Columbia and Saskatchewan. We are governed and staffed by Indigenous / Aboriginal people and maintain a distinct service delivery model, choosing to utilize a mobile approach. KAF currently receives funding exclusively from the Public Health Agency of Canada and private donors. Our mandate includes what is now referred to as Sexually Transmitted and Blood Borne Infections (STBBI). Our current project (2017-2022) includes STBBI, addictions, and mental health. We note that our culturally principled approach to our work includes what mainstream programming calls harm reduction.
THE SILVER SAGE CENTRE
Many of our activities took place around the kitchen table and in living rooms of private homes. As our need for a safe community meeting space increased, we transformed a shed into a meeting area. Over the years, we have modernized our space with indoor plumbing, electricity, and heating. There is a stage, children’s room, kitchen, and office area that are available for use. The centre provides a safe space for people to share their experiences and learn about sensitive topics such as sexuality, addictions, and spirituality.
Our name, Silver Sage, came through a ceremony an Elder from Saskatchewan performed. She has now passed on and with great respect we acknowledge the teachings and name she gifted our centre with. Her words described a bright space that welcomes you in. We are located in Treaty 6 territory, bordering traditional Métis land allowance, Alexander First Nation, and within the Summer Village of Sandy Beach. There is access to cultural and ceremonial sites on 40 acres of open woodland. Sandy Beach is within walking distance of the centre. Visitors can enjoy walking trails and a panoramic view of the lake.
More Coming Soon…
Kimamow Atoskanow Foundation is always looking for volunteers! If this is something you are interested in please contact us!