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Winnipeg's Bear Clan harm-reduction group adds Calgary chapter

Last Updated Dec 10, 2019 at 7:46 pm MST

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – A collection of volunteers working on harm reduction and community outreach that in Winnipeg is expanding and adding a Calgary chapter.

James Stable founded the Bear Clan Patrol in the 90s. He leads a group of volunteers in Winnipeg which connects with struggling members of the community. The volunteers walk with first aid kits, naloxone, hygiene products, and needle-collecting kits to make contact with people who need help.

“Whether they have an addiction or mental health issues, we interact with some of our sisters and our brothers and our two-spirit folks that are working. Sometimes we’ll give out food if we’ve got it,” explained Calgary chapter organizer Gitz Crazyboy.

He added often times people do not know what resources are even available to help them.

“Especially when you see someone who is using, or has just used, and they’re in a dark alley or they’re somewhere kind of pushed away, and you extend that hand of empathy and friendship,” explained Crazyboy.

Calgary’s chapter can be seen walking as a group on Fridays, wearing high visibility vests.


This map shows the route the new Calgary chapter of the Bear Clan Patrol walks on Friday nights. (CREDIT: Facebook.com/BearClanCalgary)

This Friday is the Bear Clan’s third patrol, and Crazyboy says so far the community response has been encouraging.

“You can change your neighbourhood around and it’s things like this that help bring pride back to the community,” he said.

“A young native person seeing an older native person doing something positive and doing something positive and being out there, being present, that has a mirrored effect on them.”

The group welcomes new volunteers and has a map of where they’ll be walking posted on Facebook.