With town’s help, Napi Centre to screen film on opioid crisis

·3 min read

The Blackfoot word kimmapiiyipitssini (pronounced GEE-maa-bee-bit-sin) translates into English as “giving kindness to each other.” In addressing the current opioid crisis, the idea of empathy encapsulated in the word is a powerful ideal to adhere to.The Napi Friendship Association in Pincher Creek plans to host an event later this month to help bring the community together and create a place for dialogue about opioid addiction. Central to their plan is a screening of the documentary Kimmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy, directed by Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, an actor and director from Kainai.

The documentary follows the Blood reserve’s community-based efforts to address issues surrounding the opioid crisis and highlights the work of Dr. Esther Tailfeathers, who is also Elle-Máijá’s mother.

Abby Morning Bull and Andrea Hlady represented the Napi Friendship Association during the June 1 committee of the whole meeting for Pincher Creek town council. The delegation requested that council provide funds to subsidize movie tickets so all residents wanting to watch could do so without financial barriers.

Abby said Kimmapiiyipitssini will provide an important bridge for community members to meet and make connections with each other in order to have important conversations about a topic that is too often taboo.

“We wanted to use this film as a way to bring community together and to have a dialogue about this because there’s a lot of lack of education around it,” Abby said. “It’s something that people don’t want to talk about but it’s so direly important to understand.”

After the screening, the event will then move back to Napi Friendship Association’s centre for food and a panel discussion and Q&A.

Napi is working on having Dr. Tailfeathers and Elle-Máijá as part of the panel, along with Dr. Cathy Scrimshaw, a recently retired local physician, and Teddy and Martin Ironshirt, who have both been involved in efforts to address the opioid issue in Piikani Nation.

Several other local organizations have teamed up with Napi to host the event, including Chinook Primary Health Network, the Associate Clinic, and Family and Community Support Services.

“We’re just a small group that are pulling together to bring this film because of its importance,” Andrea said.

Council agreed screening the documentary was an important event to hold.

“I can attest that it’s quite a powerful movie,” said Coun. Sahra Nodge.

“It will prompt conversation. It has parts that are not easy to watch because it is dealing with challenging subjects, but it is something that’s a great prompt for bigger conversations and I would invite everyone to come watch it with an open heart and take that guidance of empathy and compassion into the theatre and into the discussions.”

Council voted unanimously in favour of covering the price of admission for anyone wishing to watch Kimmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy. With 190 seats at Fox Theatre costing $7 each, the maximum total could be $1,330.

The screening and panel discussion is scheduled for Sunday, June 26, though a time is still being finalized and will be advertised in the coming weeks. Questions about the screening can be directed to the centre by phoning 403-627-4224.

Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze

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