Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

"Gigitiziiwaan, Ochibajiganan ingii, Miinigozimin" (Family – A Sacred Gift)

Theme of 8th Annual Drug and Gang Summit

The Eighth Annual Red Lake Drug and Gang Summit was held Tuesday - Thursday, February 11 – 13, 2014 at Red Lake Seven Clans Hotel & Events Center. The 2014 theme was entitled "Gigitiziiwaan, Ochibajiganan Ingii, Miinigozimin." (Family – A Sacred Gift) Chemical Health and Mental Health Services, Public Safety personnel, School Personnel, Community Members, and other programs and services, were among those attending.

An estimated 200-250 people attended workshops and presentations from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM on the first two days with a wrap-up at noon on Day Three. Participants came not only from Red Lake, but from Leech Lake, White Earth, Bemidji, and other communities.

Each morning featured key-note speakers, with workshops in the afternoon. Subjects included drugs, living a positive lifestyle, education, gangs, and traditional teachings. Meanwhile booths representing programs from Chemical Health, Public Safety and other related services dotted the perimeter of the hotel lobby.

Opening ceremonies included a prayer by Spiritual/Culture Advisor Larry Stillday and a drum song. Emcee Murphy Thomas followed, introducing Chemical Health Programs Director, Tom Barrett. "We welcome you to the 8th Annual Drug and Gang Summit. This years theme is titled 'Family - A Sacred Gift.' Your participation can change the course of our lives by taking a stand against drugs, alcohol and gangs in our communities," said Barrett.

Day One Tuesday, February 11

Keynote: Albert M. Pooley, MSW, MPA

Tuesday's key-note speaker Albert Pooley is founder of the Native American Fatherhood & Families Association. Pooley delivered a weighty message. At the same time, the charismatic Pooley's message was upbeat and humorous. He relied heavily on audience participation. His use of props and relatable analogies caused smiles all around.

Pooley, Hopi and Navajo, grew up close to both cultures on reservation, where the love of a father taught him outstanding life lessons. He holds Masters degrees in Social Work and Public Administration. He has extensive experience as a marriage and family counselor. Pooley is the founder of he "Fatherhood/Motherhood is Sacred" programs, but his special interest is working with American Indian men. He is recognized by both Indian and non-Indian organizations for his unique skills and approach to issues facing the country by strengthening families and communities.

Pooley takes the position that fathers are: a solution to address problems, are the largest untapped resource available to communities, and fathers must take the lead in keeping families together. He punctuated his presentation with a PowerPoint presentation.

"Today Native American men are often viewed as the cause of many family and social problems," said Pooley. "Many programs focus on the needs of women and children, but it seems little attention is paid to the unique needs of men as they struggle to become valuable family participants."

Pooley said a majority of people are not sick or ill, but rather misled, misguided, misdirected, and misinformed.

"It's not right or wrong, good or bad, we've all been fooled," he said. "To honor the past, we must improve on the present. This is accomplished through strong fathers and mothers who are devoted to their families. We must have a vision for a meaningful future and start working towards it."

"Every institution must have a leader, the family is no different," Pooley said. "Leadership does not mean the father is the boss, in charge or more important. Fathers lead families with love, kindness and gratitude. Parenting is a full and equal partnership."

Pooley noted that Indians hold many things in nature, ceremonies, and items as sacred. "Motherhood and fatherhood are the most sacred things on earth," he said. "We have found that, when individuals understand their roles as father or mother as sacred, they are easier to work with, are motivated to improve and change lives, and involve themselves with family and community. Shoot for character and integrity. People love and have confidence in people who have character and integrity."

"We must have rules, but they must be clear, fair, and consistent or they become useless," Pooley observed. "Without order there is chaos, confusion and disorder resulting in isolation, resentment, rebellion, gossip, rumors and lies, and we blame and criticize others, that's not normal. Life is a process of solving problems, when you stop solving problems, you become a problem."

"There is nothing that will have greater impact on your happiness than your attitude, not your age, your looks, your education, your wealth or even your culture." Pooley concluded. "Gratitude is the beginning of greatness. A grateful man is a smart man. You paid for your experience, let it work for you. Don't let that experience hold you back. If you let it work for you, then you can help others out."

Pooley has been married for 44 years to Julia. They have six children and thirteen grandchildren. (Learn more on Pooley's organization at http://www.nativeamericanfathers.org)

Concurrent workshops took up the afternoon.

There were six afternoon workshops. They included: "Suicide and the effects on family" with panel members Star Jourdain, Jerald Cobenais, Jerome Lebeaux and Mike Peters; "Native Women Sex Trafficking," with Lisa Brunner; Albert Pooley hosted "Strengthening Relationships," and Larry Stillday, aided by wife Violet, presented the Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times.

Panelists Salena Beasley; Project Director, Chemical Health Programs; Paula Woods; Family & Children Services, and George Aurand, RN-BC,PHN; Behavioral Health shared a workshop entitled Accessing Services in Red Lake. Beasley described the various programs, services, and contact information provided by Chemical Health, including Rule 25 Assessments, Detox, Prevention and Treatment Services.

"Why Indian People Drink the Way They Do," with Dr. Cecil White Hat

Dr. Cecil White Hat, (Lakota Sioux) a frequent participant at past summits, led a workshop entitled "Why Indians Drink the Way They Do."

White Hat has an array of impressive credentials and experience. His current position is with the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, as a Principal Planner/Program Consultant.

White Hat's workshop was a research based presentation on how alcohol came to the people. It relied heavily on oral tradition in providing historical evidence of the dynamics of oppression, historical grief and loss, and catastropic events in American Indian history, that laid the groundwork for the rampant addiction in American Indian communities. White Hat looked at the relationship betrween oppression dynamics and the addicted American Indian family. He further examined why the combination of these two dynamics gave rise to a host of culture-based co-occuring disorders in addiction.

"There are at least four theories of why Indians drink the way they do," said White Hat, "it is complex and may include many factors."

Theory 1: Colonists first introduced alcohol to American Indians. Large quantities of alcohol were provided to Indians in a short time. This breakneck speed of alcohol pouring into Indian Country, meant the tribes did not have adequate time to develop social, legal or moral guidelines for handling alcohol consumption. Heavy alcohol consumption became a tribal norm which was then transferred from generation to generation, from father and mother to daughter and son.

Theory 2: Some American Indian cultural patterns allow heavy alcohol consumption as an acceptable social behavior because alcohol consumption produces positive bonding among tribal members and has become a part of the culture.

Theory 3: American Indians have a genetic make-up that make them more susceptible to substance addiction. Some studies have found support for the hypothesis that certain populations may have a higher genetic predisposition for substance abuse addiction. For example; Kendler (1997) estimated that genetic factors account for 50 to 60% of the risk for alcohol abuse among males in general.

Theory 4: American Indians have been forced into poverty due to government policies and societal discrimination which have limited the economic progress of American Indians, particularly those residing on reservations. Poverty is linked to psychological conditions including depression, despair and hopelessness. When the future looks hopeless, risky behavior such as substance abuse, are less costly since there is not much to lose.

The Great White Father: "The politicians and lawmakers knew the high value American Indians placed on family," observed White Hat. "Thus was born the Great White Father, this paternal image was created to facilitate the trust needed by lawmakers."

It is important to note that oppression of the American Indian is undisputed.

• 1815 – 1871; Treaty Signing Era

• After 1850 Boarding Schools established

• 1887 – The General Allotment Act followed by the Dawes Act (160 acres) 90 million acres lost

• 1924 – Indians granted citizenship

• 1934 – Indian Reorganization Act (start of tribal governments)

• 1953 – Federal Law allows Indians to legally buy alcohol

• 1954 – Termination, start of BIA relocation efforts

• 1975 – Indian Self-determination and Education Assistance Act

• 1976 - Indian Child Welfare Act

• 1978 – Indian Freedom of Religion Act

"The dynamics of oppression on a culture, and the dynamics of alcoholism in the family, resemble each other so much as to be indistinguishable from each other when viewed through Indian eyes," White Hat revealed.

"Our Elders tell us that first and foremost we have a responsibility to ourselves. This can be a call to our spirituality, meaning finding a purpose for our lives. What do you think the Creator intended us to do or be while we are here?" asked White Hat. "Finding that purpose is the first step to our happiness with ourselves and families."

White Hat gives hope by suggesting looking to cultural remedies, and that this awareness can lead to liberation. The first step is love and acceptance of oneself and of being Indian. A restoration of family is needed. He points out where there is historical grief and loss, you can also find historical strength and healing. "One cannot treat addiction without addressing the spiritual and cultural issues", said White Hat. "This is critical to long-term sobriety."

Culture is Prevention and Tradition is Treatment.

Note: "According to the 2011 Adult Health Survey, a majority of the tribe's four districts agreed that culture helps them stay sober. Sixty-nine percent of 2012 Community Readiness Survey respondents, indicated that they agreed/strongly that commitment to cultural heritage can prevent substance abuse problems." ~Red Lake Chemical Health

Comedy Show

Many summit goers filtered back into the event center after supper to let their hair down, and watch a comedy show featuring Red Lake's own Jon Roberts followed by Mylo Smith (Lakota) comedian and motivational speaker. Smith would conduct a workshop the following day.

Day Two, Wednesday, February 12

About 9:30 a.m. after an opening prayer and drum song, a welcome and opening address was given by Red Lake Chairman Floyd Jourdain, Jr. This was followed by a presentation of gifts to keynote speaker, Albert Pooley who would be leaving later that morning.

The morning Key-note speech was provided by Summit frequent participant, David Parnell. Parnell is a public speaker, author, consultant, and advocate for drug endangered children. The dangers of methamphetamine and how to combat the drug and recovery options, are his major emphasis.

Those assembled heard...and more importantly saw...a PowerPoint presentation of vivid and sobering photos. Parnell illustrated, from a personal perspective, and in a very stark manner, a session on methamphetamine prevention called "Facing the Dragon."

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant, which severly affects the brain. Under its infuence, Parnell even attempted suicide by shooting himself. He shot himself under the chin with an SKS assault rifle, blowing his face apart. Though he survived, he sustained severe injuries.

Afternoon Workshops

Again, there were six afternoon workshops. They included: "Pregnant and Stoned," presented by Carson Gardner; "Native Traditional Parenting," with Mike Peters; a reprise of "Why Indian People Drink the Way They Do," with Cecil White Hat; "How alcohol affects the family," with Mylo Smith; and "Gangs," with Jerome Lebeaux and Garfield Steele.

At this time, Larry Stillday aided by Violet presented "Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times, The Seven Teachings." (Read this story elsewhere)

Round Dance Social

A Round Dance Social, featuring hand drumming and singing took place on Wednesday Evening from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. It was well attended by more than 100 people Tens of drummers and singers made a circle around several tables in the center of the event center, taking turns with songs, while many watched, listened or danced.

The amusing Murphy Thomas emceed the Round Dance displaying his usual flair for color, humor and history on the activities of music and dancing. There were contests for best song and dancing.

Day 3, Thursday, February 13

On Thursday morning, Kelly Brunelle, Red Lake Law Enforcement, talked about drug trends and statistical information. He provided a handed-out a Crime Stats for FY2009 and FY2013. He first talked about Part/Level 1 and 2 offenses.

"While there were small increases in burglary and larceny with a a bit larger increase in robbery," said Brunelle, "there were significant decreases in homicide, manslaughter, aggravated assaults, auto theft, arson and rape. In part 2 offenses, while there were significant increases in forgery and drug possession, and a smaller increase in runaways. There were decreases in assaults, weapon and sex offenses, disorderly conduct, and child and domestic abuse."

Following Brunelle's presentation, Larry Stillday conducted a Healing Ceremony. He requested a prayer song, healing songs, and finally a traveling song from the Traditional Drum.

"Circle and stand near the drum for your family, friends, and relatives, for those who suffer, who are having a hard time, pray that they will heal, here in this place," said Stillday. "To live right, we form a circle and we all become one. When you create that circle you are connecting, connecting to all our relatives around the world. Call on our spirits to protect ourselves."

The successful Summit closed out with drawings for some first class prizes.

The Red Lake Drug and Gang Summit is Sponsored by Red Lake Chemical Health AND by Red Lake Public Safety. Noted Tom Barrett; "where do you think those yummy donuts came from?"

Mission and Goal of the Drug/Gang Summit

The mission of the Red Lake Drug and Gang Summit is to educate and mobilize tribal agencies, professionals, schools and community members in a variety of efforts against drugs and crime in our communities. The goal of the summit is to gather and collect information on how to address issues of crime, drugs and violence while working closely with district representatives and the Red Lake Tribal Council.

The impetus for the event began at a special Tribal Council meeting in September 2006. At that time it was announced that the Tribal Chairman was calling for a summit on Methamphetamine/crack cocaine to be held. Red Lake Chemical Health Programs among others were instructed to head the summit.

The Mission of the Red Lake Chemical Health Programs is to enhance the well-being of all Red Lake Tribal Band Members through alcohol and drug abuse prevention, education, intervention, and treatment. All programs are based on Anishinaabe culture and philosophy to strengthen the minds, bodies, and spirits, of Red Lake Reservation members, families, and communities.

Chemical Health Programs: Services Available

Red Lake Alcohol Rehabilitation Program provides prevention and treatment Red Lake Outpatient Programs, with Ponemah Satellite office Indian & Free Prevention/Treatment Program, for adolescents. Red Lake Group Home, co-ed adolescent in-patient care facility Northern Winds Treatment & New Roads Halfway House, in patient treatment for adults Red Lake Pregnant Women & Families Program, out patient treatment

 

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