A Native American tribe in North Dakota will use a rural development grant to take on a problem that one tribal council member says is killing people.
Jim Olson reports on the plan unveiled this month in Belcourt.
(Stuart Lafountain, Tribal Council Member) “So many lives are being taken away.”
For tribal council member Stuart Lafountain, the view of his home town and region has been clouded by the scurge of drugs.
(Stuart Lafountain, Tribal Council Member) “There’s an epidemic with opiates. Prescription medications, methamphetamines, different types of drugs that are killing our people.”
That’s why he’s been pushing for the Turtle Mountain Chippewa to build a Rehabilitation Center and Juvenile Detention Center. To lend a hand to tribal members who’ve become addicted.
(Stuart Lafountain, Tribal Council Member) “What we want to do is give them their life back.”
(Erin Belgarde, Tribal Strategic Planner) “It’s going to create so many good thing here on the Turtle Mountains.”
Erin Belgarde is helping coordinate the application of a USDA Rural Economic Development Innovation – or REDI – grant.
(Erin Belgarde, Tribal Strategic Planner) “We’re really excited because we get to work with Purdue University of Kentucky.”
The tribe will work with the Kentucky university and other groups identified by USDA to help develop the project. A project Belgarde says is critical to healing the community.
(Erin Belgarde, Tribal Strategic Planner) “80% of crime on the reservation is drug-related. They go hand-in-hand. We need our people to heal in order to increase safety on the reservation.”
In Belcourt, Jim Olson, KX News.
Erin Belgarde says the new rehab and detention center will be a center in St. Paul.