The Alex

The Alex

June 19, 2013 17:00 ET

People's Pow Wow-Celebrating Aboriginal Awareness Week in Calgary

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - June 19, 2013) - The Alex Pathways to Housing (P2H) 2nd Annual People's Pow Wow is expected to attract over 400 guests on Friday, June 21st.

Celebrating National Aboriginal Awareness Week, the event honours the many Aboriginal cultures in Canada, including the Metis, Inuit and First Nations peoples. Focused on building a more inclusive society and raising awareness of the richness of the Aboriginal culture, the event opens with a traditional Grand Entry, offering cultural experiences that include a teepee raising, the sampling of traditional foods, drumming and dancing.

The event focuses on increasing awareness of our Aboriginal neighbours and those experiencing mental illness, one of the key causes of homelessness in Calgary. Recent research suggests that as many as 93% of those experiencing homelessness are dealing with some form of mental health issue, and between 65% and 90% of Aboriginals experiencing homelessness report mental health issues. Many of our Aboriginal neighbours experienced residential school-related trauma, contributing to inter-generational trauma that has contributed to difficult conditions on reserves and an increase in urban migration from reserve.

Aboriginal people are over-represented amongst Calgary's homeless populations, signifying a mere 3% of our population but representing 21% of the City's homeless in the August 2012 Point in Time Count.

"The Alex Pathways to Housing offers culturally relevant programming and events for Aboriginal clients in the program," says Sue Fortune, Director, The Alex Pathways to Housing program. "We know that increased awareness leads to increased inclusion, and events like The People's Pow Wow allow us to not only honour our Aboriginal clients but to introduce guests to their culture and services that will help them to connect to programs, in turn assisting them in addressing issues that increase vulnerability and the probability of social isolation, including mental health issues."

"We are bringing The Alex Medical Health Fleet on site for the event and will be introducing client guests and the public to our medical and dental clinics on wheels," adds Shelley Heartwell, CEO The Alex. "Together our buses provide over 6,000 visits a year to our most vulnerable neighbours, delivering medical and mental health supports as well as dental services, free of charge. This outreach effort is extremely effective at bridging service gaps and connecting people to the supports they require to rebuild their lives."

On-site for the day is the Dental Health Bus, which will be manned by The Alex Dental Health Team, and some of our partners from Crescent Heights Dental Centre. They will be performing dental exams and assessments and connecting people to services offered through this partnership.

About The Alex

The Alex is a non-profit organization that has provided innovative health and social solutions to those in need since 1973. Through its programs and services, The Alex helps its clients by removing barriers to health care and stepping in before crisis intervention is needed.

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