The Pandemic has caused peak isolation which has skyrocketed substance abuse in Native American communities. Fort Berthold Reservation is responding to the crisis by building a new recovery center.

With towns so spread apart on reservations in North Dakota, receiving the proper care after treatment has been difficult for the Mandan-Hidatsa and Arikara Nations. But the CARE Recovery Community Center in Mandaree is bridging that gap.

Vivian Lone Fight, Mandaree CARE Director says, “The recovery center had a grand opening on April 15th of this year and we actually started renovations on November 7th.”

Vivian created a business plan in 2018. When Councilwoman Turner-Lone Fight was elected on November 5th, she asked Vivian to help build the rehabilitation center.

Gladys Sherry Turner-Lone Fight, councilwoman for West Segment says, “We have no place for people to go when they get out of treatment. So this is a place where they’re going to come. And they’re going to have some support and they’re going to recover in their own hometown.”

Around 500 people live in Mandaree, North Dakota. Vivian says drug and alcohol addiction is so prevalent among the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation because of socioeconomic status, lack of resources, and isolation.

First Lady of North Dakota, Kathryn Burgum agrees, “Across the nation, Native Americans are the most adversely affected population related to the disease of addiction.”

Despite the scarcity and the miles between recovery meetings and proper recovery facilities, all of these women agree it’s important to pool resources between organizations in the recovery community.

Lynn Marvel is a staff member at the organization, she is also in recovery from drug addiction. She says, “It’s been a hard time but being here gives me a safe spot to be.”

She adds, “Eight hours a day you know it keeps me busy, keeps my mind busy so I’m not tortured by the temptation.” She says the center’s approach is all-encompassing.

Vivian shares, “This place is a sober living facility, it’s also a resource Center and outreach.
And it’s also the holistic part or the native healing part.”

She says there are four culturally responsive components to their recovery plan. They honor those in their community who have lost their lives due to the disease of addiction. They also use sweats, healing circles, meditation, building teepees, and other holistic approaches help clients work through the recovery process.

Vivian adds, “I want to create an awareness and tell people you’re not alone. There’s a place to come. The stigma behind it to you know people saying I don’t wanna be known as an alcoholic. I don’t want to be a drug addict. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re sick but we do recover.”

It’s that stigma that First Lady Burgum is trying to break, she says, “There’s stigma related to the disease of addiction because of the negative consequences that can result in incarceration and that sort of thing.” First Lady Burgum adds, “So the thing we need to do is create a system, a holistic approach through our healthcare system, through our criminal justice system that really treats this like a disease.”

The disease of addiction is isolating but it doesn’t have to be. The Recovery Community is for ALL of the MHA Nation.

The recovery center offers only four beds as of right now but will build more space in the upcoming months. As of right now, they house only men.

For more information call Mandaree CARE Director Vivian Lone Fight, 701-421-4631.