Strengthening Connections

My name is Brent Prairie Chicken and I have lived with Accessible Housing for the past six years. I first heard about Accessible Housing through Spinal Cord Injury Alberta and I am sure thankful that I did! The independence I now have living with Accessible Housing has greatly improved my quality of life, and I feel that I can easily connect with my family and be involved in my community. It is a great place to live – having help available 24 hours a day is very valuable for me.

I grew up on the Blood Reserve in Southern Alberta where most of my family lives today. While living on the Blood Reserve, I spent many years working as a cattle rancher and as a bricklayer. After being involved in a motor vehicle accident 20 years ago, I became a quadriplegic and my life drastically changed. I felt very restricted with what I could do; I was always waiting for help from others, as my home and many buildings nearby were not accessible. There were instances where I was stuck in my home and it was sometimes difficult for individuals to come and help me.

I enjoy being involved in my community as much as I can through teaching and participating in Aboriginal traditions. I have been teaching the Blackfoot language in the linguistics department at the University of Calgary for the past three years. This past year, I had the opportunity to teach teenagers Blackfoot at the University and I enjoyed it. Every month or so I participate in Aboriginal traditions such as pipe ceremonies, Pow Wows (including Sundance), as well as smudging with Elder Pablo Russell.

In 2016, I had the incredible opportunity to start the kickoff at a Stampeders game and it certainly was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Sports are a huge part of my life, I have been an avid Flames fan since they started in 1979, and my favourite players are Gaudreau, Bennett and Tkachuk. I have also been a big Stampeders fan all of my life. My favourite Stampeders are Mitchell, Wiggan, Tate and Nixon.