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Tag: Piikani Nation

Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull, teenaged Indigenous girl with shoulder-length brown hair and braces. Missing from Piikani Nation.

Missing Piikani Teen – Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull

RCMP on the Piikani Nation are appealing for the public’s help in finding a missing 17-year-old girl.

Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull was last seen in Brocket at noon this past Monday, Nov. 20. Authorities are worried for the teen’s well-being and would like to speak with her.

Jalessa Joy is described as being about 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 95 pounds. She has brown hair with black tips, and brown eyes. It’s believed she was wearing black clothing, including a thin black sweater.

Anyone with information of Jalessa Joy’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment at 403-965-2000. 

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), if you wish to remain anonymous or go online to


We got your bumps and bruises covered advertisement for Osa Remedy'sRx in Pincher Creek


Twin Butte cenotaph with flags in background

Remembrance to pay homage – Local services

As Canadians across the country take a moment Saturday to honour our fallen heroes, and those who have served our country, several local Remembrance Day services are planned to allow us to remember.

In Pincher Creek, a ceremony will be held at Community Hall beginning at 10:45 a.m., followed by a reception at the Legion.

Three separate commemorations will be held in Crowsnest Pass. A full community service will take place at Crowsnest Consolidated High School, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The Coleman Legion will hold a service at the cenotaph at 12:30 p.m. The Bellevue branch is set to begin at 2 p.m.

Twin Butte Community Hall will also host its own service for residents in the Waterton Lakes area. It begins in the hall at 10:30 a.m., before moving out to the cenotaph at 10:45.

Piikani Nation is holding its Remembrance Day service a day earlier, on Friday morning at 10:30, in the Piikani Nation High School gymnasium.

Organizers ask those attending services to arrive early and be seated at least five minutes before the start time, to accommodate the colour parties entering the building.


Ad with details of Pincher Creek Remembrance Day service


Meals on Wheels logo on ad announcing that the service is coming soon to Pincher Creek and volunteers are needed


Display of fall clothing at at Emerald & Ash Clothing in Crowsnest Pass.
Exterior view of Piikani Nation RCMP building in Brocket.

Local jail guard charged with sexual assault, breach of trust

A former civilian jail guard at the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment in Brocket is facing criminal charges of sexual assault and breach of trust after an alleged in-custody assault last week.

Charles G. Provost, 32, of Brocket, has been removed from his position as a Corps of Commissionaire guard at the detachment, following an investigation by the Southern Alberta RCMP general investigations section.

Police say the assault is alleged to have been committed in the early morning hours of Oct. 13 against a woman lodged inside a cell.

Charges were laid following the investigation, which included a review of cell block video surveillance.

Supt. Rick Jane, acting district officer for Southern Alberta RCMP, said in a statement that the force “takes all sexual assault incidents very seriously.”

“Once our officers were notified that this had happened, action was taken very quickly and a thorough investigation was completed,” he said.

“No matter what the circumstances are, anyone in the care of the RCMP must be protected and we will not tolerate a breach of trust.” 

RCMP have also ordered an operational review to see if any changes to policies and procedures should be made in light of the case.

Provost has been released from custody with conditions and is scheduled to appear Nov. 23 in the Alberta court of justice in Pincher Creek.


Huge, loaded burger and onion rings on Bear Grass Bistro ad.


Shelves of bottled liquor in an ad for Town & Country Liquor Store in Pincher Creek


Every Child Matters billboard unveiled by Piikani Child and Family Services

To coincide with this year’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Piikani Child and Family Services unveiled a new billboard proclaiming a powerful message: EVERY CHILD MATTERS.

Located near the Piikani Travel Centre along Highway 3, the billboard was officially revealed during a touching event last Friday.

The new sign is dedicated to all Piikani Nation members who were impacted by residential schools, and reaffirms the message to every child in the community that they matter.

“When the 94 Calls to Action came out, it was really evident that Piikani needed to have some sort of acknowledgement, a way to let everyone know that we are part of Blackfoot territory and we were affected by residential schools,” says Mary Plain Eagle, child intervention manager with PCFS.

Mary is a third-generation survivor of residential schools, as she, along with her parents and grandparents, experienced the hardships many Indigenous people know all too well.

The unfortunate reality is that Mary is not an outlier. Many members of the Piikani Nation are multi-generational survivors of institutions where children were stripped of their freedoms, their cultures and their identities.

Many who endured residential school life were present for the unveiling, which featured heartfelt speeches from elders Peter Strikes With A Gun and Herman Many Guns, Piikani Nation Chief Troy Knowlton and the executive director of PCFS, Kelly Provost.



They spoke to the horrors of residential schools, of colonization, but also of the need to heal and rise above these hardships.

“This sign not only symbolizes our healing process, but it also signifies our ability to move forward with our loyalty to our way of life,” Mary says.

According to her, this initiative was first proposed to former Piikani chief Stan Grier and council, all of whom were on board with the idea.

Earlier this year, Grier was replaced by Chief Knowlton, and so the initiative was brought forth once more to the new chief and council, who were absolutely for it, as well.

“I just feel like it’s been a long time coming,” Mary says.

“Thirty years ago, you would never have heard this sort of acknowledgement for children that were in residential school, and now as time goes on, we’re starting to hear more about it and are acknowledging what happened.”

Following the event, spectators gathered at a teepee set up outside the Piikani Travel Centre, where folks received complimentary merchandise and a free lunch.

On behalf of the PCFS, Mary extends gratitude to the North Stone drum group, Wade Plain Eagle and crew for the sign structure, Little Miss Piikani Alyson Red Young Man, the PCFS staff and everyone else who made this possible.


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Bowl of war wonton soup with spoon on ad for Bright Pearl Restaurant in Pincher Creek
Faded and torn "Every Child Matters" T-shirt, small grey moccasins and child's black and white running shoes hang from barbed-wire fence at Piikani Nation. The black-and-white shoes are against a bright orange sunset while the other shots have a cloudy grey sky as a background.

Fading Intentions – My Little Corner

What crosses your mind as you pass through the west end of Brocket and see the memorial display on the fence line? Does the row of shoes, tobacco ties and shirts grab your attention or has it faded and become one with the background?


Every Child Matters fence-line display at Brocket in June 2021. Teddy Bears, children's shoes, tobacco ties and orange ribbons hanging from barbed wire.

June 2021 photo of the fence-line display at Brocket by Shannon Peace.


When passing by, my mind always goes back to the June evening in 2021 when the sky blazed orange and Brenda Shenton captured the amazing image below — a pair of black-and-white child’s shoes against a brilliant orange sunset. No enhancement was applied to the photo — you are seeing exactly what we saw that night.

Never had the need for truth and reconciliation been stronger than in the weeks following the 2021 discovery of unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. It was not only the Indigenous people fighting for recognition and rights, it was non-Indigenous Canadians from coast to coast demanding answers and action.

While residential school history was, in reality, only one conversation with an Indigenous person away, the topic was seldom in the public eye. Suddenly it presented itself boldly and unapologetically, with a ferocity matching that orange sky.

Truths carried by generations of Indigenous people affected by the residential school system were now unequivocally told to an audience that was receptive and ready to listen. Efforts to kill the Indian in the child were on display under a harsh international spotlight and, fuelled by anger and empathy, were shared from coast to coast and beyond.

Some were embarrassed, apologetic or both, while others denied history. Whatever the case, ugliness was front and centre in the boldest of colours, and was inspiring change and demanding action.

People of all cultures made a conscious effort to learn more and to support the need for truth and reconciliation. 

It was a necessary first step.


Every Child Matters monument at Piikani Nation. Child's black-and-white shoes hanging from barbed-wire fence with a red tobacco tie against a brilliant orange sunset.

June 2021 image taken at Piikani Nation by Brenda Shenton.


While past actions and ignorance can’t be changed, we can do better going forward. Whether we learned about residential schools as part of our education or only recently, today is the time for meaningful action. The truths we know now demand attention, and bright orange serves as a reminder.

The energy exuding from the image of a blazing sky behind a tiny pair of runners hanging from barbed wire and the feeling it continues to bring to me two years later, is what inspires me to persist in contributing to truth and reconciliation efforts.

In case one is inclined to forget, the teddy bears hanging at the roadside in Piikani Nation also keep things fresh.

Piikani elders are gracious when sharing their knowledge, some speaking for the first time about their experiences. Those inclined to listen may learn about the Creator, Mother Earth, family relations, knowledge keeping and the Ksi ski ni (bald eagle).


Baby dressed in Santa suit pushes up from the floor with a big grin on his face in Ascent Dental ad.


Many have learned about residential school history and reflected on its impact.

Many have shown new respect to Indigenous people in our community.

Many have attended powwows and looked beyond the regalia to learn the meaning of the dances and the honour songs.

Many have a new understanding of the addictions and mental health challenges that affect Indigenous people.

Many have newfound respect and have allowed dignity based on what has been learned.

Many have acknowledged the truth that Indigenous women and girls have a higher risk of being victims of violence and homicide than non-Indigenous females.

Many have examined personal biases and strive to do better.

And many are teaching their children difficult history lessons and moulding them into people who will be inspired to make change.

Every action is commendable.

For the Indigenous and for us all, there is new hope, but it will be generations more before reconciliation can lead to true healing of deep wounds.


Every Child Matters T-shirt, torn and faded, hangs from barbed-wire fence at Piikani Nation monument.

A T-shirt, once bright orange, hangs faded and torn on the fence-line monument at Brocket. September 2023 photo by Shannon Peace.


Indigenous people have fought for change for many years. Our job is to uplift their voices and to fight alongside them. We can contribute by amplifying their voices in spaces where they aren’t heard and help address the changes, wants and needs that are their reality. We can keep the stories alive and make sure history does not repeat itself.

What strikes me now, when passing the roadside monument, is one particular T-shirt. Once bright orange, two years in the elements has faded it to nearly white. Despite being tattered and torn by an environment beyond its control, it still exudes a sense of pride from its place on the barbed-wire fence.

People were driven to action by the vivid orange. But it seems the spirit of support is fading along with the shirt. Good intentions are fading.

The next time you drive through Piikani Nation, why not see that ragged shirt as a symbol of resilience and perseverance? Imagine it in brilliant colour and let it motivate you to help create a brighter future.

Letting truth and reconciliation intentions fade away is like killing the Indian in the child all over again. 

Let’s see orange together.



Sparkly, multi-coloured shoes hang from the fence-line monument at Piikani Nation in June 2021.
June 2021 photo by Shannon Peace.
Once sparkly, multi-coloured shoes with the colour faded away, hang from the fence-line monument at Piikani Nation in September 2023.

Since 2021, the colour has all but disappeared from these shoes. September 2023 photo by Shannon Peace.

New, orangish leather child's moccasins hang from the fence-line monument at Piikani Nation in June 2021.

June 2021 photo by Shannon Peace.

Child's moccasins, their leather faded to grey, hang from the fence-line monument at Piikani Nation in September 2023.

The colour of the moccasins has faded to grey due to time in the elements. September 2023 photo by Shannon Peace.



Visual presentation of this article published in the Oct. 4, 2023 print issue of Shootin’ the Breeze.


Newspaper presentation of Fading Intentions article. Three photos at the top. Orange background behind text fades away to the bottom of the article





Photo of Indigenous woman with brown hair pulled; Lillian Scout of Piikani Nation.

Lillian Kathleen Scout located safe

UPDATE: Sept. 10, 2023

Piikani Nation RCMP have advised that Lillian Scout has been located and is safe.

ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 4, 2023

Piikani Nation RCMP has requested assistance from the public in locating Lillian Kathleen Scout.

The 43-year-old woman was last seen in the Brocket area on about Aug. 4, 2023, and there is concern for her well-being.

Lillian Scout is described as being 5′ 5″ and about 200 pounds. She has brown hair, brown eyes, and a heart tattoo on her right thumb.

If you have any information regarding Lillian’s whereabouts, please contact Piikani Nation RCMP at 403-965-2001 or your local police.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at, or by using the P3 app available through the
Apple App or Google Play stores.

Indigenous woman with pulled-back grey hair and glasses holds her hand to her chest while accepting an honour from a woman with shoulder-length grey hair and glasses.

Triumph of Spirit

On the afternoon of May 26, Beatrice Little Mustache stood in a spectacular and festively decorated University of British Columbia auditorium to address the large graduating class. Beatrice had been invited there specifically to receive the highest award the university gives, namely an honorary doctor of laws degree (honoris causa, for the sake of honour).

The chancellor of the university, who stood next to her at the podium that day, was Steven Point, former lieutenant-governor of B.C. and the first Indigenous person to hold the chancellor position there.

Point is of the Skowkale First Nation and is a huge advocate for Indigenous Peoples. His pride, on hearing Beatrice’s journey and contributions throughout her life so far, shone from his face that afternoon.

That journey to get to this remarkable point in time for Beatrice Little Mustache has been a long one, with many trials. Born in 1948, she was the fourth of eight children of Nick and Agnes Smith and was delivered by a midwife on the Piikani reserve at Brocket.

Growing up they were all raised in Blackfoot culture and speak fluent Blackfoot, something the church tried hard to eradicate. They were disciplined with love not strapping, like in the residential school, and are deeply religious.

Her parents taught her the values she carries today: “To be kind, caring, gentle and positively assertive when I need to be.”

They also taught her the seven sacred teachings, through the stories of her ancestors. Those teachings are truth, humility, wisdom, honesty, courage, respect and love.


Indigenous woman dressed in turquoise and light-coloured leather regalia standing on rocks with blue sky in background

Beatrice Little Mustache (Ii naak sii pii taa kii), in traditional regalia made by her own hand, stands proudly against the wind in the hills overlooking her home on Piikani Nation. An elder and knowledge keeper, Beatrice is one who looks for lessons in life experiences. Her ability to turn around the most difficult of situations, and her passion for helping others and for Indigenous Peoples advocacy, are positive traits she is known for. In late May, she was presented with an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of British Columbia.
Photo by Leah Hennel, Alberta Health Services



Vice-chancellor Deborah Buszard spoke at great length to the graduates about Beatrice’s journey and her accomplishments to date. She then officially requested that chancellor Point confer the honorary doctor of laws degree on her.

She then invited Beatrice’s nephew Ryan Smith to the stage, where he stood and profoundly sang a Black Horse Society song, one that belongs specifically to her family (clan).


Indigenous man with short greying hair wearing a black shirt with intricate beadwork sings while another Indigenous man and a white woman listen intently behind him.

After an honorary degree was bestowed on Beatrice Little Mustache, her nephew Ryan Smith sang an a capella family song. Steven Point, chancellor of the University of British Columbia, was visibly drawn into the spirit of the song after presenting Beatrice with her degree.
Photo courtesy of Beatrice Little Mustache


Buszard stated that Beatrice was a survivor of residential schools but “did not allow the trauma she endured to break her spirit, nor her will to seek lifelong wisdom and serve the needs of others.”

That journey is now 44 years long, working in positions in adult and child welfare in all levels of government — band, municipal, provincial and federal. Beatrice has held leadership positions with Piikani Family Services, Alberta Provincial Child Welfare and the First Nations Health Consortium. All in the service of her Piikani First Nation and other Treaty 7 First Nation communities.

What is remarkable about Beatrice is that while working full time she raised five children and graduated from Mount Royal College with a diploma in social work. She later went on to acquire a bachelor of social work degree at the University of Calgary.

These days, Beatrice is active as a longtime trustee with the Peigan Board of Education, including 13 years as its chairwoman.

Since 2017 she has worked hard to promote enhanced education on issues pertaining to treatment and planning for First Nations youth in care. This work is done under the umbrella of a program known as Jordan’s Principle. This principle is described as a child-first, needs-based initiative that ensures all First Nations children have equitable access to all government-funded services.

This initiative came about after five-year-old Jordan River Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation died in hospital in 2005 amid a jurisdictional dispute between provincial and federal governments.


Man and woman in agricultural setting in ad for Vision Credit Union profit sharing


More recently, Beatrice has taken a leading role in trying to address the opioid crisis on the Piikani reserve. She shared a statistic with me about how many have been lost in one year there that left me stunned. She is undeterred in her determination to do all she can for her people.

Her words to the UBC graduates last month were profoundly important and in them were several messages.

It was her observation to them all that “Education is the key to positive change in all social and economic problems in life.”

She went on to say, “In this life we never know where the journey will lead us. In this era of truth and reconciliation, it is important for you graduates to be considerate of First Nations people and more importantly our children. Be respectful to their culture and their language and always seek guidance from the elders in your community. For they are the knowledge keepers.”

She then challenged the grads to step out of their comfort zone and go educate themselves on First Nations territories. “Learn our culture and protocols; maybe even attend a powwow. By doing this you will see a world different from who you are. You will see the seven sacred teachings in action.”


Two Indigenous woman with glasses wearing bright turquoise outfits.

Beatrice Little Mustache, right, and daughter Edna Fairbrother at a 2020 event in Cranbrook.
Photo courtesy of Beatrice Little Mustache


Beatrice Little Mustache has faced a number of extremely challenging life experiences, including a devastating house fire, the death of two spouses and a child, and the continuing mistreatment of her First Nations people and children. But after 44 years she continues to apply those seven sacred values in her advocacy on behalf of children, parents and elders.

A traditional dancer and gifted seamstress of regalia, she participates in community events to unite families and to honour elders. She is, among many things, an ardent golfer and scored a hole-in-one on the Pincher Creek course in 2020.

Beatrice Little Mustache’s resilience serves as an example to all of us, for hers is a life that has been lived and her journey continues.


First published in the June 7, 2023, issue of Shootin’ the Breeze.

Indigenous woman wearing sunglasses holds up a beaded medallion while speaking into a microphone

School ambassadors recognized as Piikani Days wrap up

Students, educators and elders wrapped up this spring’s Piikani Days at Brocket’s Education Campus last Friday. 

They’d spent much of the past week celebrating Piikanissini, or “who we are as a people,” through song and dance and traditional Blackfoot games. 

The Piikani, one of four First Nations within the Blackfoot Confederacy, have criss-crossed what is now southwestern Alberta and northern Montana for millennia before their more recent ancestors signed Treaty 7 in the late 19th century. 

They intend to preserve their way of life for millennia to come, as their credo makes unambiguously clear. 


Two young Indigenous students try drumming
Woman with pulled-back grey hair and wearing a yellow vest leads students in red T-shirts and vests in a run
Four Indigenous men sing and drum
Indigenous woman wearing sunglasses holds up a beaded medallion while speaking into a microphone
Young Indigenous male in action during hand games


“We’ll be known forever by the forever we leave behind,” Billy Yellowhorn reminded the kids as they filed back into Napi Playground Elementary. 

They’d met outside to recognize first-grader Kacey Patrick and fifth-grader Tavyen Many Guns, chosen to represent the school on the basis of their Three A’s: academics, attendance and attitude. 

Their proficiency in the Blackfoot language, the sinew that binds their culture, was certainly no less important, according to Blackfoot instructor Jo-Ann Yellowhorn. 

“It’s important to us that our children maintain our identity, our language and our ways,” Yellowhorn told Shootin’ the Breeze after Friday’s ceremony. 

The community of Brocket has celebrated Piikani Days for at least 14 years now, and Yellowhorn says that in that time she’s seen a rising swell of community support and investment from residents and from their Kainaim confederates. 


Cloud of smoke over the logo for Pincher Creek Vape Shop advertising the store


This year marks a shift from Piikani Nation’s past practice of crowning girl students as Piikani princesses. 

Instead, young Patrick and Many Guns are cultural ambassadors who will represent their school at public events. 

“We wanted to give boys a chance to be role models as well,” Yellowhorn explained. 

The elementary school and neighbouring Piikani Nation Secondary are inviting anyone who wants to celebrate Blackfoot culture to join their June 21 powwow at the high school’s gym. 

The powwow will feature exhibition and honour dances, a free giveaway, and an Owl and Rabbit dance contest, among other highlights. 

Doors open at Piikani Nation Secondary at 5 p.m. sharp. 

For more information, please call Yellowhorn at 403-965-3877 or Maria Crow Shoe at 403-632-5248. 


Womens' hands joined in a gesture of comfort

Increased demand for victim services, volunteers needed

Ranchlands Victim Services, the only 24-hour crisis unit in Alberta, is looking for volunteers who can devote time to assisting victims of crime and tragedy with their short-term needs.

In partnership with the RCMP and additional co-partners, RVS provides victims with emotional support, practical assistance and referrals to community resources for continued support. 

According to Shelly-Anne Dennis, executive program manager, the organization has recently experienced increased demand for their services, requiring more volunteers to provide victims with support. 

“We’re seeing more cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, which means a greater need for our services,” she says.


Meals on Wheels logo on ad announcing that the service is coming soon to Pincher Creek


Volunteers typically go out to crisis calls and may provide court support, accompaniment, transportation and other means of assisting victims.

Supporting the communities of Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, Claresholm and Piikani Nation, RVS emphasizes the provision of a co-ordinated, skilled and efficient response to victims of traumatic events. 

“Being able to administer trauma support to victims of crime and tragedy in our community is a very crucial and beneficial service,” Dennis says.

The RCMP often rely on RVS staff and volunteers to provide support to victims and their families, while they focus on potential offenders, particularly in cases of criminal activity.


Acorn earrings by Holly Yashi on ad for Blackburn Jewellers in Pincher Creek


Part of the struggle to find volunteers comes with the rigorous background check that each potential volunteer or staff member of RVS has to go through to be accepted.

“You have to pass an enhanced security clearance, which is the same clearance as an RCMP officer, so it’s a very strict background check,” Dennis says

Employees and volunteers of RVS have a level of security clearance that exposes them to police files that they must keep confidential. A thorough background check is crucial in ensuring someone is suited to sign on.

These background checks are meant not only to look for criminal history, but also to look for anything that could affect work credibility or re-traumatize someone who was once a victim themself.


Christmas is too sparkly, said no one, ever, brooch on sparkly silver background of ad for Blackburn Jewellers in Pincher Creek


This could include a recent history of domestic violence, assault or financial stressors.

In time, Dennis hopes RVS can get more volunteers to maintain a full unit to service and support our communities.

“I’m pretty passionate about this job — it isn’t just a job to me. I love helping people and the work I do to help said people,” she says.

“We hope that our work decreases the amount of trauma that people have to go through and that eventually, with the proper help, they could move back into a normal lifestyle sooner.”

If you wish to become a volunteer with RVS, the advocate application is available online at


Logo for Charley Biggs' Chicken on bright yellow background with link to menu.


Cloud of smoke over the logo for Pincher Creek Vape Shop advertising online ordering


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Mined mountainside with greenery in foreground and blue water pond

‘Winds of change’ bring renewable energy project to Tent Mountain

Peter Doyle, CEO at Montem Resources Ltd., said the company plans to sell half of its stake in the Tent Mountain site to the Calgary-based electricity wholesaler TransAlta Corp. TransAlta will lead the development of a 320-megawatt pumped hydrogen energy storage facility on the mountain.

The Tent Mountain Renewable Energy Complex (TM-REX) will be powered by an off-site wind farm that will feed into a new transmission line, Blain van Melle, TransAlta’s vice-president, told Shootin’ the Breeze in a Feb. 24 video conference with Doyle. The project meanwhile envisions an off-site hydrolyzer that will generate “14,000 tonnes each year of clean, green hydrogen.

“This is the equivalent of displacing 50 million litres of diesel each year, or taking 2,000 heavy trucks off our highways,” Doyle says in a promotional video on Montem’s website. 

Doyle and van Melle declined to specify where the companies might build the wind farm or the hydrolyzer. 

With plans still in the distant offing, Doyle said Montem has been in talks with the Piikani Nation, which he said “has aspirations to build a significant wind farm.” 


Solar panel on ad for Riteline Electric in Pincher Creek


“Anything that we do on [the wind farm] is most likely going to be in unison with either Piikaani by itself, or the entire Blackfoot confederacy,” he told the Breeze

Van Melle said it’s for the Alberta Electric System Operator, the non-profit company that manages Alberta’s electricity grid, to determine the transmission line’s exact specifications. 

Montem said in a Feb. 17 press release that the project would create about 200 construction jobs and about 30 permanent jobs after TM-REX comes online. 

Doyle said the Tent Mountain mine, unreclaimed since it was abandoned in 1983, had roughly enough capacity to produce one million tonnes of metallurgical coal every year for 13 years, whereas TM-REX will generate emissions-free energy for up to 80 years. 

Peter Loughheed’s Progressive Conservative government halted coal exploration along the eastern Rockies in 1976 because the slopes feed environmentally sensitive headwaters. 


Text over a glass of beer and bingo cards on ad for Lions TV Bingo at Oldman River Brewing in Lundbreck


The United Conservatives under Premier Jason Kenney announced in the spring of 2020 that they would lift the ban, but quickly reversed course when the initiative provoked strong opposition. 

Doyle said Montem realized “the winds of change were blowing” in 2021, when Ottawa asked for an environmental assessment for the proposed reboot of the Tent Mountain coal mine. The Alberta Energy Regulator then rejected Benga Mines’ (another Australian coal company’s) application to reboot an open-pit mine on nearby Grassy Mountain, stating that the project wasn’t in the public interest.

At that point, Doyle said, “It became increasingly clear that there was too high a risk to continue with the [Tent Mountain] coal mine.” 

The mountain’s coal deposits will be “sterilized,” Doyle said, using an industry term that means the hydrocarbons will stay in-ground. 

Doyle and van Melle said Montem and TransAlta would continue to meet with Pass stakeholders moving forward. 

Doyle said he expects Montem’s shareholders will approve the TM-REX sale in late March or early April.


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Blackstone Tailgater grill on ad for Chief Mountain Gas Co-op in Pincher Creek





Laurie Tritschler author information. Photo of red-haired man with moustache, beard and glasses, wearing a light blue shirt in a circle over a purple accent line with text details and connection links

Snow accumulation is measured by four brown Oldman River Brewing beer cans. A storm watch has been issued for 30 to 50 cm of snow.

Winter storm watch issued for Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass

Significant snowfall – 30 to 50 centimetres (12 to 20 inches) — is expected in southwestern Alberta, prompting Environment Canada to issue a winter storm watch for Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Piikani Nation, Waterton and surrounding area.

The storm will hit with heavy snow falling early Monday morning. It is anticipated to slow down in the afternoon, but will intensify again later in the day and snow will continue to fall through. Tuesday.

The highest amounts are currently expected in the Waterton area.

Be prepared!

Share your weather photos with us by email or text.


Dairy Queen menu items – chocolate-dipped cone, chicken fingers and fries, blizzard, deluxe stackburger, pink orange julius and hot fudge sundae, on an ad for Pincher Creek DQ location


The winter storm watch was issued at 3:50 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023 for the MD of Pincher Creek near Beauvais Lake Provincial Park, Cowley, Burmis, Maycroft and Twin Butte; the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass including Coleman and Frank; Piikani Nation; Waterton Lakes National Park and Blood Reserve; and MD of Ranchland.



Circular shot of Shannon Peace – smiling woman with shoulder-length light brown hair and glasses, wearing a black shirt, over a purple accent line with text details about her Shootin' the Breeze role


Brocket man sough in relation to fatal crash notice on red and blue police-lights background with RCMP logo

Accused drunk driver charged in crash that killed his son

Fort Macleod RCMP are looking for a Brocket man charged in connection with a highway collision that killed his young son last fall.

Ryan Scott Potts, 38, was allegedly drunk behind the wheel when his Dodge Caravan collided with a semi-trailer at the intersection of Highways 2 and 3 late Friday, Oct. 21, according to Cpl. Paul Bedard. 

Potts was driving with his five and seven-year-old sons when the Dodge collided with the semi’s trailer. All three were rushed to Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, where Bedard said the boys were treated with “serious, life-threatening injuries” and then transported to hospital in Calgary.  

Tragically, the five-year-old died of his injuries, but his older brother survived and was later discharged. 

Potts was too badly injured to give a breath sample at the scene of the wreck, but Bedard said a toxicology screen showed that his blood-alcohol level was around 0.238 shortly after the collision. 

The legal driving limit in Alberta is 0.08. 


Blank list to share Christmas gift ideas with hubby from Dragons Heart Quilt Shop in Pincher Creek


Potts was charged in December with nine offences related to the collision. Mounties are looking to arrest Potts, current whereabouts unknown, for the following offences: 

—Impaired operation of a motor vehicle causing death

—Impaired operation of motor vehicle causing bodily harm

—Impaired operation of motor vehicle

—Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death

—Dangerous operation of motor vehicle causing bodily harm

—Operation of motor vehicle while prohibited

—Criminal negligence causing death

—Criminal negligence causing bodily harm

—Driving an uninsured motor vehicle

Anyone who knows where to find Potts is asked to call Fort Macleod RCMP at 403-553-7220 or phone Crimestoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Tips can also be sent online at or by cell phone using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.


More from the Breeze:

Prevention is key to vehicle theft issues

Crowsnest Pass woman among four charged after recovery of stolen vehicles


Crockets Trading Company building against an orange and purple coloured sunset on ad for Crockets local Christmas gift ideas.


Laurie Tritschler author information. Photo of red-haired man with moustache, beard and glasses, wearing a light blue shirt in a circle over a purple accent line with text details and connection links

Krystal Red Young Man – young woman looking down from the camera in a kitchen

Krystal Red Young Man located

Update: Dec. 3 @ 12:15 p.m.

Piikani Nation RCMP advise that Krystal Red Young Man has been located and is safe.


Lynn Brasnett in front of bolts of brightly coloured fabric and sewing supplies at Drogon's Heart Quilt Shop in Pincher Creek


Original Post – Dec. 2

RCMP seek public assistance to locate missing woman

Krystal Red Young Man of Piikani Nation was last seen Nov. 20, 2022, and there is concern for her well-being.

Krystal is described as being 5’1″ and 130 pounds, with a slim build. She has brown hair, brown eyes and a medium complexion.

When last seen, Krystal was wearing black jeans, a black sweater and a black jacket, along with grey shoes.

If you have seen Krystal Red Young Man, or have information about her whereabouts, please contact Piikani RCMP at 403-965-2000.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.


Three guitars in the background of an ad for jam nights at Oldman River Brewing in Lundbreck


Obituary for Sally Boerema

Sally was born in Evans City, Pennsylvania, to Bruce and Myrtle Sutton on Nov. 23, 1951. She enjoyed her childhood with her siblings, Susan, Wayne and Wendy. From a young age, Sally learned of the love of Jesus and built a faith that never wavered throughout her life.

After graduating from high school, Sally attended Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was there that Sally met the love of her life, Melvin Boerema. Mel and Sally were married on Aug. 10, 1974, and moved to Sand Lake, Michigan.

Sally married Mel knowing that he was going to work as a minister with Indigenous people with North American Indigenous Ministries. In the spring of 1977, a year after the birth of their first daughter, Sonya, Mel and Sally moved to Agassiz, British Columbia, to work with the Sto:lo people on the Seabird Island First Nation. While living in Agassiz, their second daughter, Amanda, was born.

In 1979, Mel and Sally moved to work with the Nlaka’pamux First Nations in Lytton, B.C. Mel and Sally welcomed their son, Daniel, while living there. In 1989, the family moved to Vernon, B.C., where Mel and Sally worked with the Syilx Okanagan people and ran a wilderness camping program, Kla-How-Ya Wilderness Trails, for Indigenous youth.

When Kla-How-Ya Wilderness Trails found a new home in the foothills of Alberta, Mel and Sally moved to Pincher Creek in 2002. Mel and Sally found their heart’s home with the Blackfoot people of the Piikani Nation and became involved in the Lighthouse Church there. Sally found joy in teaching cooking and baking to girls in the community, sewing with her friends, and serving through the church.

One of Sally’s greatest joys was being a grandmother, and she delighted in her grandchildren, Sena, Soren, Violet, Nicola, Juliet and Vanessa. She was a creative and connected grandma, always finding crafts, cooking challenges and adventures to share with the kids and offering unconditional love, support and snuggles.

Sally is survived by her husband of 48 years, Mel Boerema; her daughters, Sonya (Troy) Bradley, Amanda (Tim) Doling; her son, Dan Boerema; and her grandchildren. She is also survived by her father, Bruce Sutton, and her siblings Wayne Sutton and Wendy Barkley.

Sally was predeceased by her mother, Myrtle Sutton, and by her sister Susan Emelander.

A wake was held for Sally at the Lighthouse Church on the Piikani First Nation on Sunday, Nov. 20, and Sally’s funeral was held at Creekside Community Church in Pincher Creek at on Nov. 21.


Funeral arrangements entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Homes



Pincher Creek observes first National Truth and Reconciliation Day

Crowshoe, a councillor for Piikani First Nation, addressed Pincher Creek residents outside the Napi Friendship Centre on National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

He told the story of his own family and the struggles they face living in the shadow of trauma, and discussed how Canada can work toward improving its relationship with Indigenous people.

As the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation in history, Sept. 30 was a memorable moment for Canadians. People across the country gathered together to honour residential school survivors, their families and communities.

“All Canadians need to observe or at least acknowledge the day,” Crowshoe said in an interview after the event. “If everybody wore an orange shirt today, it would be the start.”

The orange shirt was made an official symbol in honour of Phyllis Webstad, a First Nations woman whose treasured orange shirt, originally given to her by her grandmother, was confiscated when she arrived as a child at residential school.

An official date of observance was first suggested by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, No. 80 of its 94 calls to action, and although this is a step in the right direction, Crowshoe said there’s still more work to be had.


Gilbert Kylo Provost holds a flag
Gilbert Kylo Provost checks out the display created by Napi Friendship Centre in Pincher Creek. Photo by Teri Harrison

“Reconciliation, it’s a healing process,” he explained.

“You need to reconcile for the wrongs that you have done. There needs to be some sort of compensation in saying, ‘OK, we’re taking ownership of what we’ve done.’ ”

He said Piikani Nation is using ground-penetrating radar to search for unmarked graves on its land. There were four residential schools in the area and he said that if remains are discovered it would help shed light on a dark period of history.

Crowshoe was joined by Coun. Scott Korbett at the event. The two have been friends for more than 20 years and Korbett said he attended to show moral support.

“This is a sad time for me,” said Korbett after the event. “I find this disturbing…. It’s very clear we need to have better communication regularly, and intentional conversations.”

“It is our responsibility to let Piikani Nation lead us through how to reconcile, how to respect, what is going to be the direction,” he added. “And it is up to us to step back and honour their traditions and accept their culture.”

Four blocks east of Napi Friendship Centre, a separate reconciliation event took place at Pincher Creek United Church, which has also collaborated with Indigenous groups in the past.

“We strongly believe we cannot live without our community. We learn from each other no matter our background, culture or skin colour,” said Rev. Hyun Heo in an interview.

Peter Strikes With a Gun spoke to the congregation and his family performed an honour song.


Peter Strikes With a Gun speaks at an event
Peter Strikes With a Gun grew up on Piikani First Nation and he is a survivor of the residential school system. He told his story at a ceremony at Pincher Creek United Church for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.   Photo by Gillian Francis


Strikes With a Gun grew up on Piikani Nation and attended residential school as a child, where he suffered abuse at the hands of his teachers.

“We were judged, we were prosecuted,” he said in his speech. “They seized our power and our authority and they diminished our values. They put us in a box.”

The trauma he faced led to alcoholism and it took him a long time to recover.

“It’s worse than cancer,” he said. “Cancer, you get all the comfort. With alcoholism you’re alone, you die alone. It’s a lonely life. It was caused by the impact of what happened.”

Despite bad experiences, religion has helped him on his path to healing. He focused on finding values that spoke to him as an individual, he said, which meant spreading love and light to everyone.

Accounting tools for AKHS financial comptroller

Financial comptroller opportunity at Aakom-Kiyii Health Services

The finance comptroller, under the direction of the Aakom-Kiyii Health Services manager, will primarily be responsible to develop and control annual budget and long-term financial plans.

This position will administer the organization’s funds according to the approved budget and monitor its financial expenditures.

The finance comptroller will also develop and implement short- and long-term financials plans and forecasts in accordance with business goals and objectives.

Duties include (but are not limited to):

  • Develop and control annual budget and long-term financial plans
  • Administer the organizations funds according to the approved budget and monitor its financial expenditures
  • Prepare reports that outline financial position in the areas of income, expense and earnings based on past, present and future operations
  • Ensure that the AKHS committee is kept fully informed on the financial condition of the organization and all important factors influencing it
  • Establish the financial and administrative control of AKHS
  • Facilitate any auditing conducted by third parties to ensure effective resolution and swift close of auditing activities
  • Co-ordinate financial activities, general accounting, payroll, special projects accounting, financial planning and reporting
  • Supervise and assist in the development and maintenance of accounting files and records
  • Ensure accuracy and adheres to the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)
  • Adhere to traditional First Nations Practice protocol(s) when engaging with Piikani members and clients

Experience and Education

  • Bachelor of Management degree with a major in finance or related fields
  • 5+ years of experience working in the finance industry
  • Experience working within a First Nation community and with government funded projects
  • Advanced proficiency with accounting software including payroll functions
  • Proficient in spreadsheet programs and applications
  • Ability to plan, organize, develop, implement and interpret goals, objectives and policies
  • Strong working knowledge of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles

Application for finance comptroller must include:

Cover letter, resume, degree and other pertinent certifications and current Criminal Record Check


Competition will remain open until a suitable candidate is found

Attention: Human Resources – email

No late submissions will be accepted. Only qualified applicants will be contacted for an interview.

Aakom-Kiyii Health Services would like to thank all applicants for their interest in this position.

Oldman River Dam near Pincher Creek

Proposed water allocation changes cause local turbulence

One of the great blessings of living in Alberta is access to clean water.

For the last 130 years, water from streams and rivers in the South Saskatchewan River Basin has been divided among users.

The provincial government manages allocations to ensure enough water remains in the environment to support aquatic habitats while still providing enough for human consumption. At least 50 per cent of available water must also flow into Saskatchewan.

With the area’s population and agricultural industry growing, water in the river basin has become overallocated. Less water is being left in rivers, running the risk of unfulfilled demand in the event of a drought.

Given the tenuous situation, many have grown increasingly concerned with proposed changes to the Oldman River Basin water allocation.


Wine glasses and cheese tray set out for sip and shop party at Emerald & Ash Clothing in Crowsnest Pass.

The government announced last November that it was considering changing the rules that determine how the 11,000-acre-feet limit — over 13.5 billion litres— is distributed among local sectors.

With several proposed coal mines around Crowsnest Pass at various stages of the exploratory and regulatory process, many feel the changes are simply the government opening the floodgates for coal development under the pretext of underutilization.

The situation is complex, however, and getting to the bottom of it requires a bit of a deep dive.


Dairy Queen menu items – chocolate-dipped cone, chicken fingers and fries, blizzard, deluxe stackburger, pink orange julius and hot fudge sundae, on an ad for Pincher Creek DQ location

Oldman allocation history

Back in the 1920s, a weir was constructed outside Fort Macleod to redirect the river’s flow into the Lethbridge Northern Irrigation District.

Irrigation helped provide water for farmers’ crops, though high summer demand coincided with low flow levels in the river. To address shortages, the Oldman Dam was constructed in 1991 to store excess water during the high spring discharge until it was needed in the drier months.

The dam’s reservoir can hold up to 400,000 acre-feet of water, though areas within the MD of Pincher Creek, MD of Ranchland, and Municipality of Crowsnest Pass became flooded. To accommodate the lost irrigation and agriculture potential, the Oldman River Basin water allocation was established in 2003.

The order applies to areas of the Oldman River upstream from the western boundary of the Piikani reserve, including the Castle River, the Crowsnest River and their respective tributaries.

The allocation originally set aside 11,000 acre-feet of water for irrigation purposes, available via licensing through the government. The order was amended in 2010 to allow a total of 1,500 acre-feet for municipal, agricultural and commercial purposes, with 9,350 acre-feet still reserved for irrigation. An additional 150 acre-feet was permitted for industrial use.

According to Alberta Environment and Parks, only 1,296 acre-feet is currently licensed for irrigation and 326 acre-feet for all other uses.

With only 16 per cent of the allocation actually being used, 9,229 acre-feet of water is going unclaimed — and although the South Saskatchewan River Basin plan stopped issuing water licences in 2006, licences for the Oldman allocation are still allowed.

The new conceptual allocation would remove the limits imposed on each sector while mandating that 2,200 acre-feet be reserved for environmental concerns.


Man with his arm around smiling woman kisses her on the side of the head in the doorway of a barn.

Why the changes?

The available licensing stems from a lack of irrigation investment, says Stewart Rood, a professor of biology at the University of Lethbridge who specializes in water resource management.

“There’s been very little uptake on that intended irrigation development,” he explains.

Irrigation works downstream, he continues, because the flatter topography allows gravity to move the water where it’s needed. The hilly region upstream would require expensive pumping. Since the area also doesn’t favour cash crops, the development initially intended by the allocation order is uneconomic.

“At one level, changing the terms of that allocation licence makes some sense,” Mr. Rood says.

However, he acknowledges that the main issue with opening up more allocation for industry comes with concerns of coal mining in the area.


Pedicure chair in ad for Providence Salon & Spa in Pincher Creek

Water stewardship

Benga Mining’s proposed Grassy Mountain coal project is currently under federal review. The company has applied for 454 acre-feet of water, an amount it says is triple the actual amount it will consume but is required for recycling processes, with most of the water being treated and safely returned.

One hundred and fifty acre-feet falls under a licence Benga holds for collecting run-off that would normally enter Blairmore and Gold creeks. The remaining requested allocation would come from licence transfers from Devon Canada at York Creek, and the municipality at the Crowsnest River.

No water from York Creek or Crowsnest River will actually be extracted, though the licence transfers are required to reflect the quantity of water that will be used for the coal cleaning process at the mine.

Despite being a very small portion of the 11,000-acre-feet allocation — which in turn makes up a fraction of the 400,000-acre-feet capacity of the reservoir — the amount, says Cows and Fish executive director Norine Ambrose, needs to be contextualized to location.

“If you change the hydrology — whether you’re diverting it, or reducing it or even adding to it — you change how much water is available to the ecosystem,” she says.

Allocation orders, she says, are an important way to ensure water remains for natural uses.

“Alberta has recognized this quite a few years ago, and is doing a much better job at trying to mimic nature and allocate the flows that are needed for nature, or what’s called the instream flow needs,” Ms. Ambrose adds.


Plate of Charlie Biggs' chicken tenders with sauces on the side and link to Blairmore menu.

Determining allocations

Given the sheer number of rivers, streams and creeks in Alberta that have individual characteristics, the specific levels that must remain in each for a healthy ecosystem are nearly impossible to determine.

To address this, Alberta Environment and Parks uses what’s called the desktop method to set standards that establish allocation amounts: only 15 per cent of a river or stream’s natural flow can be removed, or a minimal 80 per cent exceedance of the natural flow must be maintained.

The exceedance limit may sound overly technical but is easier when you remember rivers have different levels of flow over time. The amount of water flowing over the course of the year starts low in the winter, increases through the spring run-off and rains, and peaks before decreasing in the late summer and autumn months.

Graphing that change gives you a bell curve; the 80 per cent exceedance simply requires at least 80 per cent of that bell curve to remain in the river throughout the year.


Stack of tires with red bow on ad for Christmas Sale at Fountain Tire in Pincher Creek

Ideal versus reality

Despite allocations aiming to let water run its natural course, much of the Oldman River is used downstream from the reservoir.

The area is currently allocated 170,250 acre-feet, 90 per cent of which is used for irrigation. Demand is so high that the allocation order requires that only 45 per cent of the water remains in the river.

Even with such high use, Alberta has been able to honour its water commitment to Saskatchewan with about 75 per cent of water flow passing across the border, though a drought in 2001 dropped that amount quite close to the 50 per cent requirement.

Deciding who gets water in times of shortages is tied to licence seniority, known as “first in time is first in right.” With water usages evolving past agriculture and irrigation, however, identifying water rights has shifted to be based on priority. Drinking water for towns and cities takes precedence, followed by livestock.

Other sectors would then each take a cut, or “share the shortage,” to make sure no one goes without.


Sparkly gold-wrapped gift box on ad for Blackburn Jewellers in Pincher Creek

The issue with freeing up licences upstream from the Oldman reservoir, says Shannon Frank, executive director of the Oldman Watershed Council, is licence seniority is usually enforced over sharing the shortage.

“We have concerns about those dry years where every drop counts,” she says. “Having additional licences does add a bit more pressure to the system overall and those with junior licences could get no water.”

Establishing allocations also depends on knowing what the natural needs are for the environment.

“It’s not just which of us get the water; we also have to think about the health of the river and how much we can leave in the water for the fish and the trees and the overall health of the watershed,” says Ms. Frank.

Since river flows naturally have variation, adds Mr. Rood, the natural ecosystem has evolved to deal with some variation.

“If we’re paying attention, we should be able to pick up the stress due to insufficient flow before it is irreversible or lethal,” he says.

The problem, he continues, is gathering the required information.


Santa floating in a round tube in the an ad for family passes to the Pincher Creek swimming pool

A Benga problem

Since the riparian health of creeks and streams is site-specific, the generalizations of the desktop method may not be adequate for every location.

As such, the effects of allowing coal companies to draw water from smaller streams in the headwater aren’t known.

Benga has 10 hydrometric stations in place, which have been measuring water flow at Gold and Blairmore creeks for the past several years. The company also states operations will reduce Gold Creek’s flow by only about 10 per cent, which is within environmental limits.

Although data is being gathered, scientifically accurate measurements on flow must allow for the wide swing in variation creeks experience. The typical standard is 30 years worth of data — a difficult mark to reach, considering the limited personnel and resources available.

“We’re challenged right now because the data on allocations isn’t done at that small of scale usually,” Ms. Ambrose says. “I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any removal of water — I think we just have to make sure that the water we do take, relative to that place, is acceptable.”

Solid data is doubly important, Ms. Frank adds, given the location of many of the proposed mines in the Oldman’s watershed.

“That’s one thing we have been asking for before we withdraw water from any of these headwater streams,” she says. “That would tell us how much we could withdraw without having a big impact.”

Issues surrounding climate change, such as earlier snow melts and declining summer flows, also mean future conditions should be accounted for. Such foresight is especially important for Gold Creek, which is home to one of the last remaining Alberta populations of westslope cutthroat trout.


Cozy, shackets on ad for Christine's Gift Shoppe and Pincher Office Products in Pincher Creek

Not water under the bridge yet

Although the government says altering the allocation would attract new industrial investment to the area, prospective coal mines would be first to benefit.

With water use upstream from the reservoir not as taxed as farther east, the minimal amount of flow data for the smaller headwater creeks and streams the mines would affect raises questions about local environmental stewardship — along with other water-related issues, such as pollution and treatment.

For now, further information about the changes is on hold as public consultation will resume after the province establishes its new modern coal policy, prompted by the reinstatement of the 1976 coal policy.

Public consultation on the government’s coal policy is set to begin March 29.

Current water licences can be viewed online



Nadine Iron Shirt Obituary Piikani Nation

Obituary for Nadine Iron Shirt/North Peigan

Private family prayer service to be held at Snodgrass Funeral Home.

A wake service will be held at Snodgrass Funeral Home on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, from 2 to 11 p.m. for public attendance. (Please call Snodgrass at 403-627-4864 for visitation time.)

The wake will commence on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021, at noon until 7:30 p.m. for public attendance.

Funeral service for the late Nadine Iron Shirt will be held at Snodgrass Funeral Home on Monday, March 1, at 1 p.m. with immediate family ONLY, with Pastor Jeff Sayson and Doug Iron Shirt officiating. Call Snodgrass 403-627-4864 for Zoom link.

Due to gathering restrictions, only 20 participants may be present at a time during the wake services and funeral service.


Funeral arrangements entrusted to Snodgrass Funeral Homes