White Bison Wellbriety program graduates recognized at ceremony

By Ken Luchterhand

Thirty-five participants of the White Bison Wellbriety program were recognized with a graduation ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 15, in the Tribal Office Building atrium.

Each of the graduates present were called up front to receive his or her certificates.

The White Bison Wellbriety training was held June 26-28, 2017 at Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells.

“It was an honor to be a part of the Fathers and Mothers of Tradition Wellbriety training and certification of completion sponsored by the Workforce Development Division of Labor,” Elder Community Work Program / Labor Administrator Jean Stacy-Snow said. “Completion of the three-day training will allow for elder workers to offer recovery support in addition to Warrior Down, to tribal members seeking alternatives to addictive behaviors.”
Elder Community Work Program staff involved in the training are Connie Lonetree, Richard and Cheri Snake, Larry Littlegeorge, Gladys Ebata, Jeanine Heffner, Amelia Ortiz, Roger Thundercloud, Charlie Hindsley, Sherman Funmaker, Francis Decorah and Sandy Winneshiek.

The White Bison is a non-profit company that provides a culturally-based “Wellbriety” healing program, according to the company’s charter. Wellbriety means to be sober and well. The Wellbriety program teaches participants to find sobriety from addictions to alcohol and other drugs and recover from the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on individuals, families and whole communities.

The "Well" part of Wellbriety is the inspiration to go on beyond sobriety and recovery, committing to a life of wellness and healing every day, the White Bison website said.

White Bison holds these trainings throughout the country. Some tribes have them open to anyone who wants to attend or closed to just their members to attend.

“I feel that these trainings are a step in the right direction for the tribe in working on combatting the epidemic we are facing currently,” Tribal Workforce Training and Development Division Manager Angela Ward said. “Each of these participants can take this training and form it to fit their respective community’s needs.”

Tribal members completing the course are:

Mothers of Traditions
Barbara Blackdeer-Mackenzie
Gladys Ebata
Quincy Garvin
Macy Goodbear
Eliza Green
Gail Greendeer
Jeanine Heffner
Maxine Kolner
Carole Laustrup
Josephine Lee
Constance Lonetree
Deana Mitch
Amelia Ortiz
Tari Pettibone
Laverda (Birdie) Richter
Cheri Snake
Unga Stacy
Jean Stacy-Snow
Lanette Walker
Kimberly Waukau
Kimberly Whitewater

Fathers of Tradition
Reiss Blackhawk
Ritchie Brown
Albert Carrimon
Pierre Decorah, Jr
Thomas Eades
Timothy Gamble
Donald Greengrass, Sr.
Charles Hindsley
Larry Littlegeorge
Ken Mitch
Richard Snake
George Stacy
Damian Thundercloud
Roger Thundercloud

White Bison's Philosophy
We believe...
Mother Earth is governed by a set of Principles, Laws and Values
Leadership exists to serve the people first
Leadership existence is to ensure that information (Truth) is given to the people
Changes are the result of implementing Natural laws
All Native people believe in a  Supreme Being
In the Elders and teachings as a guiding force to direct ourselves, families and communities
That there is a natural order running the universe
That our traditional ways were knowledgeable about the natural order
When the community leads, the leaders will follow
Alcohol and drugs are destroying us and we want to recover
That change comes from within the individual, the family and the community
That within each person, family and community is the innate knowledge for well being
The solution resides within each community
Interconnectedness - it takes everyone to heal the community
Healing will take place through he application of cultural and spiritual knowledge
Alcohol is a symptom...not the cause, drugs are a symptom...not the cause, Domestic Violence is a symptom...not the cause.  To "heal a community" it needs to deal with the cause
That the Circle and the Four Directions are the Teachers
In the Four Laws of Change
Change is from within
In order for development to occur, it must be preceded by a vision
A great learning must take place
You must create a Healing Forest