Understanding Our Journey
Linda Woods, MSW
Personal Information
 Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewas tribal
member, Peshawbestown
 Began SA field in the mid 70’s – Native American
program in San Jose, CA
 Volunteer working with alcoholics when not working
in the field (jail meetings, prison, etc)
 Graduated MSW - San Jose University 1994
 Worked with SA clients in child welfare, CA
 Working with the Anishinaabek for GTB, Inter-Tribal
Council & in 2008 retired from Substance Abuse
Director at Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa
Indians – Petoskey
 Tribal Elder, Veteran (U.S.A.F. 1962-66), mother,
PURPOSE – The Journey
Understanding the Aniishnaabek journey
What happened? Who are we today?
Understanding the importance of our history
What is it like walking in our ‘moccasins’?
Exploring our cultural journey
Helping your clients embrace
who they are today
 Applying recovery principles
Learning Objectives
 Knowledge & understanding culture of the
Anishnaabek in Michigan
 Tribal History – Ojibwe, Odawa, Bodawatomi
 Clan System
 Impact of Historical Trauma
 Boarding Schools
 Loss of Culture
 Culture for Solutions: Medicine Wheel, Seven
Grandfather/Grandmother Teachings, Sacred Plants &
 Recovery Concepts for Native Americans
You will also learn :
 Laughter is healing
 Laughter is a powerful medicine that brings
not only the spirit within happiness but
brings healing as well to the body & mind.
 We have learned to laugh at ourselves
You know it's time to lose weight when:
* You can't see your moccasin strings
* You can't fit your choker, because you no
longer have a neck
* The car naturally tilts downward on the side
you always ride on
* You have to "lift" your stomach to show off
your new beaded belt buckle
rez (reservation) dawgs
How can you spot the difference between a regular
canine and a Rez dog?
Throw each one in the oven at 400 degrees for 20
minutes. The regular canine should come out tender
and moist. The Rez dog will come out
with a towel wrapped around his waist
saying, "Dang that was a good sweat!"
 “There was a time long ago when our
people believed that all of creation was
sacred and we were one”
 2 million indigenous people lived on ‘Turtle
Island’ long before Europeans came to this
 “Indian” refers to what Columbus called the
Native people, Indios thinking he was in the
East Indies
 Native people identified themselves based
on their connection to their families, clan or
 Basic understanding of plant-based
medicines – western: less than 10 plant
based drugs; tribal people used more than
170 plant-based medicines
 Philosophy of oneness with all of creation
 No ‘abuse’ of plants – respected –
minimized use of alcohol to ceremonial
Early Days Post Contact
15 – 18 Century
 English, French, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish,
Russians –East, South, North, West
 Initial introduction of alcohol throughout
 Initial response to alcohol was rather
‘benign’ - Rejection of alcohol
 Change in patterns of drinking began
to emerge
 “Touch not the poisonous
firewater that makes wise
men turn to fools and robs
the spirit of its vision.”
 In the words of an Odawa prophet who
voiced his prayer for our people:
“….My Children, you may salute the Whites
when you meet them, but must not shake
hands … you must not drink one drop of
whiskey. It is the drink of the evil spirit. It
was not made by me-but by the Americans.
It is poison. Neither are you on any account
to eat bread. It is the food of the Whites.”
 The name, Anishnaabek means The
Original People that is a name given to the
three tribes who have called this land their
homeland for many centuries before
European contact
 The three tribes are: Ojibwe (Chippewa),
Odawa (Ottawa), Bodewadmi (Potawatomi)
= 12 Federally recognized tribes in Michigan
 share a common language base
 Three Fires Confederacy
Tribal Contacts:
Bay Mills Indian Community
12140 W. Lakeshore Dr., Brimley, MI 49715
Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa
2605 N. Bayshore Dr., Suttons Bay, MI 49682
Hannahville Indian Community
N-14910 Hannahville B-1 Rd., Wilson, MI 49896
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community
16429 Beartown Rd., Baraga, MI 49908
Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior
Chippewa Indians
P.O. Box 249, Watersmeet, MI 49969
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians
7500 Odawa Circle, Harbor Springs, MI 49740
Match-E-Be-Nash-She (Gun Lake Tribe)
P.O. Box 218, 1743 142nd Ave., Dorr, MI 49323
Nottawaseppi Band of Huron Potawatomi
2221 1-1/2 Mile Rd., Fulton, MI 49052
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
58620 Sink Road
Dowagiac, Michigan 49047 269-782-6323
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe
7070 E. Broadway, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
523 Ashmun St., Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Bureau of Indian Affairs
2845 Ashmun St., Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Three Fires Confederacy
• The three tribes interacted with each
other like members of a family.
• The Ojibwa was referred to as the "older
brother;“ the Odawa was the “middle
brother” and the Potawatomi was the
"younger brother." We are still family to
each other today.
• Together, they formed the Three Fires
Confederacy, a loose knit alliance that
promoted their mutual interests.
• The Ojibwa are the “Keepers of the Faith,“
the Odawa are the “Keepers of the Trade”
and the Potawatomi are the “Keepers of the
• There were Three Bundles (medicine): The
Ojibwa maintain the Midewin Lodge; The
Odawa had the Shaking Lodge;
The Bodéwadmi have the Wabano Lodge.
• Fire (boodawaadam), which became the
basis for their name Boodewaadamii (Ojibwa
spelling) or Bodéwadmi (Potawatomi
• Using the Midewiwin scrolls, Potawatomi
elder Shup-Shewana dated the formation of
the Council of Three Fires to 796 AD at
• Though the Three Fires had several meeting
places, Michilimackinac became the preferred
meeting place due to its central location. From
this place, the Council met for military and
political purposes.
• The Council generally had a peaceful
existence with its neighbors.
• The Council also used the totem (or clan)
system as a promotion of trade.
 Ojibwe people organized themselves into
grand families, called dodem or clans.
 Originally six human beings that came
out of the sea to live among us. These
six beings, which were Wawaazisii
(Bullhead), Ajejauk (Crane), Makwa
(Bear), Moosance (Little Moose),
Waabizheshi (Marten), and Bineshii
(Thunderbird), created the original clans.
 20 offshoots of the original clans
 The clan system operated as a form of
government, a method of organizing
work, and a way of defining the
responsibilities of each community
 Working together, the clans attended to
the physical, intellectual, psychological,
and spiritual needs of the community.
Each was known by its totem (animal
Characteristics of Clans
 The Bird Clan represented the spiritual
leaders of the people and gave the nation
its vision of well-being and its highest
development of the spirit. The people of
the Bird Clan were said to possess the
characteristics of the eagle, the head of
their clan, in that they pursued the
highest elevations of the mind just as the
eagle pursues the highest elevations of
the sky.
Characteristics of Clans
 Crane (Ajejauk) clan members were
known for their loud and clear voices and
recognized as famous speakers. The
Crane and the Loon Clans were given the
power of Chieftainship. By working
together, these two clans gave the
people a balanced government with each
serving as a check on the other.
Characteristics of Clans
 The people of the Fish Clan were the
teachers and scholars. They helped
children develop skills and healthy
 In the age-old tradition, clan members of
the same clan respectfully acknowledged
each other with the greeting "Aaniin
(hello!) Dodem."
The Potawatomi
 Approximately four thousand members
lived in southern Wisconsin when the
Europeans arrived, moved around the
southern tip of Lake Michigan and settled
in northern Indiana and southwestern
Michigan in the early seventeenth century.
 Called "the people of the place of the fire,"
the Potawatomi are considered among
Michigan's earliest farmers, particularly
famed for their medicinal herbal gardens
• Per U.S. government policy many of them were
forcibly relocated to Kansas and Oklahoma by the
U.S. military. There is also a small band found in
Mexico and another band near Bakersfield,
California. Another Band of Potawatomi are in
Canada, Walpole Island, near Sarnia.
• Today, in Michigan there are bands of
Pottawatomi located in Shelbyville as the
Match-e-be-nash-she-wish Band (1999); the
Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi
in Fulton; the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi (1994)
in Dowagiac, and the Hannahville Indian
Community in Wilson, MI (upper peninsula).
 The original homelands are located on
Manitoulin Island in present day province
of Ontario Canada and in the state of
Michigan, they occupy the western half
of the Lower Peninsula.
 The Ottawa people were seasonal
wanderers of the land and sailors of the
Great Lakes gathering wild rice, netting
fish, trapping both large and small game,
and hunting large game such as moose,
deer, and caribou.
• As keepers of the trade, Ottawa people
were great traders and craftsmen. One
hallmark of Ottawa life is the birch bark
• They were noted among their
neighbors as intertribal traders
and barterers, dealing “chiefly in
cornmeal , sunflower oil, fur and
skin, rug and tobacco, and
Medicinal root and herb.
• They allied with the French against the British
and Chief Pontiac led a rebellion against the British
at Fort Detroit in 1763.
Today, Ottawas are located:
• Harbor Springs is the headquarters of the Little
Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa (1994), serving 21
• Manistee is the headquarters of the Little River
Band of Ottawa Indians (1994);
• Peshawestown is the headquarters of the Grand
Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians
serving 6 counties (1980);
• There are other bands in Michigan that are not
as yet “federally recognized” such as the Grand
River Band of Ottawa near Muskegon and the Burt
Lake Band of Ottawa in Emmet County;
• The Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma
• Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve on
Manitoulin Island, Wikmemikong, Canada
 The Ojibwe (also Ojibwa or Ojibway) or
Chippewa (also Chippeway) are among
the largest groups of Native AmericansFirst Nations. They are the third-largest
in the U.S., surpassed only by Cherokee
and Navajo. They are equally divided
between the United States and Canada.
 Originally they came from the eastern
areas of North America, or Turtle Island
and from along the east coast.
• Known for their birch bark canoes,
sacred birch bark scrolls, the use of
cowrie shells, wild rice, copper points, &
for their use of gun technology from the
British to defeat and push back the
Dakota nation of the Sioux (1745).
• Historically, they traded widely across
the continent for thousands of years and
knew of the canoe routes west and a land
route to the west coast.
Cowrie Shells
 Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa
Indians, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
 Bay Mills Indian Community, Brimley, MI
 Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior
Indians, 1988, Watersmeet, MI
 Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Lake
Superior Band of Chippewa Indians,
1936, Baraga, MI
 Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, Mt.
Pleasant, MI
Historical Trauma
 Refers to the oppression that occurred
with the Anishinaabek people since
contact (all Native peoples)
 Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart offers
this Definition:
The collective emotional and
psychological injury both over the life
span and across generations, resulting
from a cataclysmic history of genocide
Historical Trauma Causes:
• Legacy of genocide from U.S. Govt. policies:
• Legacy of broken treaties
• Loss of land: Indian Removal Act, 1830: which
was the policy of the U.S. government to
relocate Native American tribes living east of
the Mississippi River to lands west of the
river forcibly, targeting the Five Civilized Tribes
but affect several other tribes.
• The Potawatomi Trail of Death Sept 4 to Nov 4,
1838, 859 members of the Potawatomi from the
Indiana region were forced to move to Kansas
& Oklahoma, led to death of over 40, mostly
children due to stress & typhoid fever.
Trail of Death
 As treaty after treaty ceded land which
the Ojibwa never identified as their own
possession but rather as caretakers of
Mother Earth, the final Treaty of 1854
created the reservation life-style and
finalized the ultimate defeat of a once
proud people. This occurred all across
Indian Country.
 The reservations stripped them of their
way of life, disintegrated all concepts of
cultural leadership as it was known
through the clan system, forced
localization, prevented normal commerce
of gathering and hunting, and sought to
establish an agrarian culture on a people
who had no experience with agriculture
on land that was hostile to agriculture.
 The Dawes Act of 1887 broke up the
reservations into individual allotments of
Loss of Culture/Language/Spirituality – fear of
Indians having secret ceremonies or “uprisings”
so policy was developed to prohibit ceremonial
practices. Many tribal peoples went
“underground” with their ceremonies to survive.
• Unsettled trauma
• Unresolved grief
• Increase of substances (alcohol), child abuse,
suicide, unhealthy lifestyles and domestic
violence, other forms of violence (lateral).
Boarding Schools
 1st school: Carlisle, Pennsylvania in
1879 by Capt. Benjamin Pratt in an
attempt to forcibly assimilate the Native
people; approx 140 tribes were affected;
was considered the model school of 26
boarding schools across the U.S.
 Children were recruited by trickery;
hundreds of children died at the school;
abuses of all forms took place; harsh
military structure; punishment hard
Boarding Schools
 Life at the boarding schools was often a
shock. One girl recalled being held down
as her hair was cut short. She said,
"among our people" only "cowards"
wore short hair. Another student
remembered that attending a boarding
school was like being "suddenly
dumped" into "another world, helpless,
defenseless, bewildered, trying
desperately and instinctively to survive it
• Many were beaten, raped
• Native language prohibited because of being
forced to speak the English language and were
punished if caught speaking their own
Lasting effect:
Destruction of Family structure
Lack of parenting skills
Relocation & Assimilation
Racism/ viewed as 2nd class
Spiritual prohibition
Loss of culture
Alcoholism, domestic violence, high suicide
rates among our young, all forms of abuse.
Boarding Schools
 Native American boarding schools in the
United States were seen as the means for
the government to achieve assimilation of
American Indians, which it believed was the
best way for them to live in the changing
society. By having the children in boarding
schools, they could be educated together in
majority culture. The boarding schools
separated American Indians from non-Indian
Boarding Schools
 There were over five hundred Indian boarding
schools across this continent. As mentioned
previously twenty-six of them were operated by the
government with Carlisle being the model for all of
them, the residential schools in Canada included.
 The philosophy was the same for all residential
schools ~ “Kill the Indian, save the man!”
 “Kill the Indian, and Save the Man”: Capt. Richard H.
Pratt on the Education of Native Americans
 Kill the Indian, Save the Man: The Genocidal
Impact of American Indian Residential Schools
is a 2004 book by Ward Churchill. It traces the
history of removing Native American children from
their homes to residential schools (in Canada) or
Indian boarding schools (in the USA) as part of
government policies, 1880s-1980s, which the
author views as genocidal.
By 1900 thousands of Native Americans were
studying at almost 150 boarding schools around the
United States. The U.S. Training and Industrial
School founded in 1879 at Carlisle Barracks,
Pennsylvania, was the model for most of these
schools. Boarding schools like Carlisle provided
vocational and manual training and sought to
systematically strip away tribal culture. They insisted
that students drop their Indian names, forbade the
speaking of native languages, and cut off their long
hair. Not surprisingly, such schools often met fierce
resistance from Native American parents and youth.
But some Indian young people responded positively,
or at least ambivalently, to the boarding schools, and
the schools also fostered a sense of shared Indian
identity that transcended tribal boundaries. The
following excerpt (from a paper read by Carlisle
founder Capt. Richard H. Pratt at an 1892
convention) spotlights Pratt’s pragmatic and
frequently brutal methods for “civilizing” the
“savages,” including his analogies to the education
and “civilizing” of African Americans.
Excerpt (from a paper read by Carlisle founder Capt.
Richard H. Pratt at an 1892 convention):
“A great general has said that the only good Indian is
a dead one, and that high sanction of his destruction
has been an enormous factor in promoting Indian
massacres. In a sense, I agree with the sentiment,
but only in this: that all the Indian there is in the race
should be dead. Kill the Indian in him, and save the
Boarding Schools
 Native American children in the boarding
schools reached a peak in the 1970s, with
an estimated enrollment of 60,000 in 1973.
 Especially through investigations of the later
twentieth century, there have been many
documented cases of sexual, physical and
mental abuse occurring at such schools.
 By 2007, the number of Native American
children in boarding schools had declined to
Boarding Schools
 A similar system in Canada was known as
the Canadian residential school system.
 On June 11, 2008, Canadian Prime Minister
Stephen Harper issued a 3,600-word formal
apology to First Nation, Métis and Inuit
people for the legacy of Indian Residential
Schools, which he called a "sad chapter in
our history."
 The United States government has not
issued any acknowledgement of this atrocity
to date nor any apology.
Destroyed family system
Abuse of various forms
Education – trained for lower class jobs
Loss of culture & language
Loss of spirituality & ceremony, identity &
abuse of all forms occurred there.
Mt Pleasant Government Boarding School
On January 3, 1893, the U.S. government opened
an Indian boarding school at Mt. Pleasant,
Michigan. It offered a nine-year program,
beginning with kindergarten. By 1911 the Mt.
Pleasant school had eleven buildings, including
both the girls and boys dormitories.
Hearing stories today about
this school is both touching
& painful ~ i.e., my mother
described it educational while
My dad described it as brutal.
Resistance to the Boarding Schools
 “If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a
white man he would have made me so in
the first place. He put in your heart certain
wishes and plans; in my heart he put other
and different desires. Each man is good
in the sight of the Great Spirit. It is not
necessary, that eagles should be crows."
..Sitting Bull (Teton Sioux)
 the Hopi surrendered the men to a prison
rather than have their children sent away
from their families.
Some Indian parents opposed sending their
children away to learn "the white man's ways."
However, the poverty & hopelessness of living
on reservations (or Indian settlements) led other
parents to hope that these boarding schools
promised their children a better life. However,
most of the time the government took Indian
children & forced them to attend the school
miles away so the parents could not afford to
visit them.
English was the school's official language, and
students might have their mouth washed out
with soap if they spoke their native Indian
Violating the rules led to punishment, which
could be harsh. Sometimes students were
beaten with a strap or rubber hose. Some
endured the school; others ran away.
The Mt. Pleasant Indian School closed in 1933.
Holy Childhood Catholic Boarding
School, Harbor Springs
This Indian school was founded in
1829 by Father Pierre Dejean. The
Indians built a church and the first
school building, a hewn-log structure
46' by 20'. The school was both a
boarding and day school, with 25
boarders in its initial enrollment of 63
Indian boys and girls, who were taught,
in French, the three "R's" and
vocational skills. The original intent
was described as “good” in order to
provide Indian children an education.
Holy Childhood Catholic
Boarding School, Harbor Springs
 Father Frederic Baraga came in 1831 ,
the future "Apostle of the Ottawas and
Chippewas.” Catholicism was taught.
 Students were also encouraged to take a
Christian name in place of their Indian
 Abuses occurred here also & loss of
culture & spirituality.
 The school was torn down in 2007
Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart found a distinct
link between Historical Trauma & the Jewish
Brave Heart suspected that, like the children of
Jewish Holocaust survivors, generations of
Americans Indians have suffered from what
happened to their ancestors, i.e., trauma & Grief
is passed on to children & grandchildren of
survivors; which continues today through
alcohol-related accidents, homicide, and suicide.
Sometimes referred to as “Blood Memory” or
unresolved grief.
• She also discusses what ‘internalized
oppression’ is and how people start identifying
with the oppressor, which results in self-hatred
and hatred of others like oneself. In our
communities we have a lot of lateral oppression,
lateral violence people hurting other community
members and placing aggression on to one
• Freire’s theory is that it’s dangerous to direct
aggression at the oppressor. Since the
aggression has to go somewhere, it goes out
toward others like you. It also can go within and
people suffer from depression and anxiety.*
•* Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Historical Trauma & Alcohol
 Use of alcohol was used as a political
tool, economic and sexual exploitation
 Drinking patterns began to emerge as a
‘problem’ – binge drinking, violent
 Increased as conflicts, small pox & other
diseases, broken treaties, loss of land,
forced relocation, poverty & ‘utter
 Myths also began to emerge, i.e.
“Drunken Indian”
 How Historical Trauma still impacts us
– High rates of alcoholism/addiction
– PTSD – referred as Post-Colonial Stress
Disorder (PCSD)
– Depression
– Anxiety
– Suicide Rates high
– Abuse of all forms: physical, sexual,
domestic violence
– Breakdown of family systems – Boarding
School Syndrome
– Loss of culture, language, spirituality
According to a past report by the Dept. of
Justice the Native American population still
experiences a mortality rate that is 400 per
cent higher than any other population,
indicating unique to this population.
Dr. Maria Yellow Horse Brave Heart:
“Once you recognize where these emotions come
from, then you can find a healthy way to deal with
them. We believe that our traditional cultural and
spiritual ways have natural ways to help people do
that. They were very wise in that way.”
The healing we experience also heals our
When you discover you have a Native American
in your office:
In the assessment process, wait patiently for
them to answer the questions. NA tend to have a
longer “pause time” in response to questions.
Rapid-fire asking of questions will turn them off.
NA tend to observe, “check you out” first or
consider how much they want to share with you.
Remember, because of our history with
“officials” we don’t trust you, even more than
the “regular” alcoholic or addict.
Expecting them to “look you in the eye” could
be a sign of disrespect.
Things to remember when working the Native
American client:
Tribe – ask what tribe they are. They may or may
not know because of our history. This is
especially true in an urban area where there are
many tribal people. There are over 500 tribes to
consider; we’ve just discussed the 3 main tribes
here in Michigan. In an urban area you will
probably see many different tribal people that are
not from Michigan. If they are familiar with their
tribal heritage, ask them to share it with you. If
they don’t know, they may feel some shame about
it because this was possibly passed down from
their parents or grandparents.
Remember the language was taken from them or
were told they were “savages” or “drunken
Indians” or other discriminatory things.
Unfortunately, racism is still alive and well here
in Michigan and many of us can recall
discrimination or racist remarks.
I remember up to the 1950’s -60’s Indians could
not be served in some places, i.e. the local
tavern or bar. I remember being spit upon as an
8-yr little girl, imagine the traumatic scar that left
upon me! This was a common occurrence for
many of us.
So trust is a major issue you will have to deal
with and how you do so will reflect if you are
successful with this client.
Ideas for Social Workers & Therapists
• Increase cultural sensitivity
-- Research personal historical trauma
-- Attend community activities
-- Know your community resources
-- Assessments ask about boarding school, did
parents attend, etc.
•Spiritual Healing
• Encourage seeking cultural roots and/or
ceremonies for restoration of identity.
• Story telling
Acknowledging the pain and sharing it is
 “Recovery is like a fire; someone has to
start it.” From The Honour of All, the
1985 Alkali Lake Video
 “The community is the treatment center.”
 ‘Indianizing’ Alcoholics Anonymous
 Red Road Philosophy – Gene Thin Elk
 Wellbriety Movement – Don Coyhis
The Anishnaabe Life
 The fundamental essence of Anishnaabe
life is unity. The oneness of all things. In
our view history is expressed in the way
that life is lived each day. Key to this is the
belief that harmony with all created things
has been achieved. The people cannot be
separated from the land with its cycle of
seasons or from the other mysterious
cycles of living things of birth and growth
and death and new birth. The people know
where they come from.
The story is deep in their hearts. It has been
told in legends and dances, in dreams and in
symbols. It is in the songs a grandmother sings
to the child in her arms and in the web of family
names, stories, and memories that the child
learns as he or she grows older. above all of the
long, stubborn struggle through which the
Anishnaabe tried to preserve their own ways
and their own identity.
• Helping your client to find his or her way back
to this philosophy is a slow process but it is a
rewarding one.
Anishnaabe Ways
 Use of Anishnaabek culture and teachings as a
way to support recovery:
– Medicine Wheel concept (coupled with 12
Step philosophy), Talking Circles
– Use of ceremonies: Indian name (important
for Identity), prayer lodge, Sacred Fires
– Learning the 7 Grandfather/Grandmother
Teachings & apply to recovery
– Other cultural teachings: pow-wows, Ghost
Suppers, solstice times, Creation Story &
other storytelling experiences, Sacred
plants, Clan system
– Laughter is good
Sacred Plants
Ceremonial purposes, personal
Specific teachings
Sage – cleansing, purification
Sweetgrass – smoke, purification, balance
Tobacco – prayer offering, pipe, bundles
Cedar – cleansing, cedar oil, cedar water
Tobacco - Sema
Cedar oil
Sweet Grass - Weengush
 To know Love is to know peace
 “Who better to teach us about love than
a child with their hand reaching out to us
– they accept us in their unconditional
 Listening to each other, helping each
other, sharing with each other is the
Anishnaabe way
 Learning about how to respect yourself
in recovery as we learn to respect our
family & others – one day at a time
 “The fire teaches us respect – we can
cook our food, it lights up our night but
fire can also destroy if proper care is not
 To honor all of the creation = Respect
 First step in recovery is being honest
about ourselves and acknowledging we
need help
 Facing a situation in honesty is healing
 “The butterfly teaches us life is a
continuous metamorphosis if we are
honest with ourselves - removing our
own caterpillar guise we too can become
free – free as the butterfly”
 “The eagle has become for the
Anishnaabek a symbol of truth and
strength therefore holding an eagle
feather in our hand gives us a huge
responsibility for our voice”
 Hence, holding an eagle feather in a
Talking Circle we speak our truth
 To know all these things is deep within
 To know who we are starts to surface in
 Humility is to know yourself as a sacred
part of the Creation – we are but “a grain
of sand” in creation doing our part
 “As we enter our space to be in union
with our Creator and Mother Earth we
open our inner doorway to our own
Sacredness which is beyond our
understanding - It is to be touched by the
 Accepting ourselves just as we are
 To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom
 “The turtle teaches us wisdom we seek
wisdom from our elders but yet
sometimes wisdom comes through a
child if we remain open to the voice of
our youth”
 The inner knowing of who we are
following our heart – our path
 Prayer & meditation leads us to wisdom
 To face the foe (sometimes it is within
ourselves) with integrity
 “The hummingbird teaches us of bravery
she will go up against a bear if the bear
is threatening her babies the
hummingbird will attack the bear with her
long needle-like beak until the bear
 To see clearly what alcoholism/addiction
has done to us = bravery
 Naming Ceremonies (describes your
characteristics, i.e., helpful, etc; your role
in the community; defines your purpose
in life)
 Talking Circles – decision-making
process; used in therapy to regain what
we lost in addiction
 Smudge – smoke in a sacred way
 Cherish sacred items
• Sweat Lodge – prayer; led by spiritual person;
traditionally it was primarily male – due to
alcoholism the male forgot their responsibilities
to the sweat lodge & women assumed the
responsibilities of the lodge to maintain the
health of the community. This is the reason that
today there are mixed lodges in honor of the
women for what they did for us. This is a
cleansing ceremony.
• Sacred Fires – primarily used whenever there is
a ceremony, for when one walks on, resembles
the sun in winter.
All we do in recovery as we discover ourselves
whether through the 12 Step process, finding
church, tribal traditional ways or ceremonial
ways or a combination both or through nature is
all spiritual. Each must find their own spiritual
path. If they are earnestly seeking they will find
it. It takes time, it does not come overnight or
quickly (like most of us want). Each must define
their own spirituality for themselves. Treating
ourselves and others with Respect is spirituality.
Books of Reference
 ‘Alcohol Problems in Native America’ –
Don L. Coyhis & William L. White
 ‘Healing Through Art’ – Zoey WoodSalomon
 ‘People of the Three Fires’ – James A.
Clifton, George L. Cornell, James M.
 The Mishomis Book – Edward BentonBanai
 Internet
 Anishnaabek Healing Circle Access to
Recovery project website:
 Anishinaabek Access To Recovery, click
on ATR on Inter-Tribal Council of
Michigan, Inc website:
 Anishinaabemowin, Learn the
Anishinaabe Language:
Earl Meshigaud, Hannahville Elder
Jim McClurken, Historian & Our Friend
Jim Pigeon, Gun Lake Cultural Advisor
Inter-Tribal Council ATR Staff
I do what I do because….
 My grandchildren, for the children,
especially Anishnaabek children
 To help break the cycle of addiction in
our community
 To promote “Mno-Bimaadziwin” – a
Good Life