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Journey of the Sacred Hoop makes stops in the area

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Journey of the Sacred Hoop makes stops in the area
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

CASS LAKE -- A movement spreading a vision of sobriety and wellness among American Indian tribes made a stop here Thursday.

On one of five stops throughout Minnesota, the Journey of the Sacred Hoop brought several speakers and a visioning process to Palace Casino & Hotel. The Journey of the Sacred Hoop also made a stop Wednesday in Red Lake. Other stops include the White Earth and Fond du Lac reservations and the Twin Cities.

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"Our mission is 100 communities in healing by 2010," said Don Coyhis of the Mohican Nation, who is president and founder of White Bison, Inc., an American Indian nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

White Bison is a facilitator of the Wellbriety Movement, which teaches that culture is key to prevention of chemical dependency and other dysfunctional behaviors, according to the White Bison Web site.

One of the goals of the current Journey of the Sacred Hoop is to discuss building a Wellbriety Movement in Minnesota, Coyhis said. Another goal, he said, is to see if tribes want to commit to healing as part of the movement.

"We know that we are part of the change that needs to take place," Coyhis said.

But, he said, no one can change a community directly. He said change begins with individual healing. Once individuals change, he said, families begin to change, and when families begin to change, communities -- and eventually nations -- begin to change.

He emphasized the role that culture plays in wellbriety, a term defined by White Bison as being sober and well.

"Our culture is prevention," said Coyhis, noting that being well involves people knowing and living who they are.

He said inside all humans is a blueprint of an innate knowledge of their own wellbeing.

"When you act according to the blueprint, that's when you're the happiest," he said.

One woman who is discovering wellbriety -- DeLinda HisGun of Redby -- shared her story of chemical dependency and recovery Thursday.

She said she became an alcoholic first and started using drugs later in life after a tragedy. With alcoholics and drug addicts in her family, she said, "It's half in my DNA and half in my nurturing environment." Although she too began using, she is now drug free.

"I've been meth free since Labor Day of 2005," she said.

She noted that alcoholism and drug use doesn't just affect the person who is using.

"It touches everyone," said HisGun, who is a Sisseton-Wahpeton enrollee. "We all need to be there for each other, to support each other."

Since moving to the area to go to a treatment center in Red Lake, HisGun started building a support system with mostly American Indian women.

In one of his talks, Coyhis said passionate people are most effective when it comes to changing a community. To get this passion, he said people need to pray to the Creator and ask what their purpose is, have persistence and not give up.

Accompanying Coyhis on the journey across Minnesota is the Sacred Hoop, which was built in 1995 as envisioned by an American Indian man. The wooden hoop has the capacity to hold 100 feathers that represent communities that commit to the Wellbriety Movement.

"This is a journey we must make ourselves," Coyhis said. "We know what's broke. Not only do we know what's broke, but we know how to heal it."

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