This week on Minnesota Native News, we hear about new efforts to revive a culturally specific treatment program for Natives struggling with addiction, movies at the Walker focus on Native film makers and a new murder mystery from Minneapolis based Anishinaabe writer Marcie Rendon.
HOST HEADLINES: This week on Minnesota Native News, we hear about new efforts to revive a culturally specific treatment program for Natives struggling with addiction, movies at the Walker focus on Native film makers and a new murder mystery from Minneapolis based Anishinaabe writer Marcie Rendon.
STORY #1 - FOUR WINDS
HOST: The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is redeveloping a culturally specific treatment facility for Natives struggling with addiction.
The tribe took over the Four Winds treatment facility in Brainerd, Minnesota on March 1st.
Reporter Melissa Townsend talked with Mille Lacs Band Commissioner of Health and Human Services Sam Moose about the plans for the facility and some of the hurdles he’s facing.
REPORTER: The state Department of Human Services had been running the Four Winds culturally specific treatment center.
But it’s widely believed that the program wasn’t really connecting well with American Indians in the state.
Mille Lacs commissioner Sam Moose says he thinks it was because of a limited budget.
MOOSE: I think over the years due to the budget restraints they’ve had, they had to make cuts at the program and those cuts impacted their ability to provide the cultural model that they had. So yes, that made it difficult for them to respond to the Native American community. (:18)
REPORTER: Moose says there weren’t even any Native Americans on staff at the treatment center.
So his department is focused on redeveloping the culturally specific model.
MOOSE: Some of our goals at Mille Lacs is really to bring linkages to traditional ceremony and cultural ceremonies that are going on in the region. Naming ceremony and other things like that - we want to bring those things to the forefront of the program. (:16)
REPORTER: Sam Moose says his department is partnering with an elders’ advisory board to make the current treatment model more culturally appropriate.
In the end, Moose says they will obviously need to hire more Native people, specifically Native spiritual advisors who can lead ceremonies and offer traditional healing practices.
But he says it’s difficult to pay for those people in the modern clinical treatment model.
MOOSE: So all the activities, all the planning, all the work to support people’s cultural identity and cultural healing — based on American Indian faith or religion— isn’t currently supported through the reimbursement mechanisms through private insurance or through state or federal insurance. (:16)
REPORTER: Moose says the Mille Lacs Band will fund a spiritual and cultural counselor — at least until insurance or public funding streams change their specifications.
Much of state and federal dollars for treatment support medically assisted programs - where patients take a form of Bupenorphine to stave off withdrawal symptoms and block the effects of opioids.
Moose says his department is looking into offering that service, but he’s not sure when it will be available.
With all these changes underway, there are no clients at the Four Winds Treatment Facility right now.
Moose says he’s keeping in touch with the other Ojibwe tribes about how the program is shaping up.
He gets the sense that they are excited.
MOOSE: They want us to succeed. They want to see a tribal program and they are really excited about the cultural program that we will be able to offer there. (:10)
REPORTER: Moose says the Mille Lacs Band hopes to have the facility open by the end of May.
STORY #2 - WALKER MOVIE SERIES WRAPS
HOST: The Indi-genesis film series at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis wrapped up last week.
The month-long event featured 8 films by American Indians made between 1920 and the present day.
Missy Whiteman curated the series.
She is a Minnesota based film maker and artist of Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo descent.
She says her mission was to show movies made by Native artists.
WHITEMAN: Why that’s important is because there is a narrative that is continuously out there and it’s really focusing on the desolate parts of being Native and not really seeing that we are actually thriving and we are healing and we are bringing our teachings and language and starting to change the way mainstream, western society does things. (:25)
HOST: Missy Whiteman debuted her own film The Coyote Way: Going Back Home - as part of the series.
She said it was thrilling to offer her work to other Natives to be inspired by its message.
STORY #3 - RENDON NOVEL READER
HOST: The newly released book Murder on the Red River is the first mystery novel from Minneapolis-based Anishinaabe writer Marcie Rendon.
Rendon, from White Earth, has previously written children’s books, poetry, essays and short stories.
But she says she loves murder mysteries and since she’s always reading them, she’d try her hand at writing one.
A recent Star Tribune review hailed the story’s nuanced and complex characters.
Rendon says she didn’t mean to write a book about Native history — but her characters certainly embody the resilience of those who have endured the brutal federal policies toward American Indians.
The book goes on sale April 1st.
Rendon says people who have received advanced copies are already requesting a sequel.
And — she has already started working on it.
On this episode of “The Live Feed” we feature Noah Glenn Short, also known as Mista Clue. Noah is a Winona native who enjoys sharing his unique acoustic sound with area venues. Genres explored with Mista Clue are experimental, sometimes a bit funky with jazz influences. We caught up with at Winona’s first Live at The levee, and we take you there now. Robert Pack hosts this episode of “The Live Feed.