Now let’s go to the north-central part of the state, where – Minnesota Native News reporter Alexander Aman brings us to the annual Community Wellness Gathering at Red Lake…
“Recovery!” That’s the rallying cheer from the annual Red Lake Chemical Health Programs’ Community Wellness Gathering.
Members of Red Lake, Leech Lake, White Earth, Bois Forte and other Native nations came to northern Minnesota for Ojibwe ceremonies, educational seminars, and a safe place for tribal nations to gather.
One of the leaders of this celebration of sobriety is…“Reyna Lussier. I am from Red Lake Nation and I come from the Pine Martin clan.”
Lussier is the Event Coordinator of the Community Wellness Gathering, where the frybread is free and laughs are contagious.
The annual event has an overwhelming sense of Indigenous strength, with many people there wearing matching “Ojibwe Strong” T-shirts and posing for group photos in front of the Red Lake flag.
Lussier has been praised for creating positive events for Red Lake Chemical Health.
“This is what this conference is about, to find new ways to cope, find new ways for your path. There is other things other than alcohol and drugs, you can do so much more,” said Lussier.
Indigenous community leaders from all over the U.S. & Canada came to share teachings at the Red Lake Tribal College.
“It was really nice to see native communities around our region come up to this event. I really hope to see more, I’m hoping for it to be bigger next year,” said Lussier.
Lussier has worked with Red Lake Chemical Health for many years, and she believes that these kinds of gatherings can help move people past substance use.
“I always believe that culture is the answer – our medicines are our answer and our ceremonies,” said Lussier.
Red Lake Chemical Health provides critical services year-round.
“We provide treatment, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, prevention programs for adult and youth,” said Lussier.
Lussier also thanked some of the people who helped make this year’s Community Wellness Gathering such a success:
“The [people] who do all the back work like Salena Beasley, Tashina Branchaud and Tom Barrett. [They] are some really good go-getters that make sure we get these dollars to spend in our community, so we can have amazing events like this,” she said.
For Minnesota Native News, I’m Alexander Aman.
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