April 5, 2021 – The video, Norris-Barrett explained, shows White describing the traditional nature-based approach he took to recovery at Red Lake Chemical Health. “You see Carl pick the cedar,” she said. “For us, the cedar is a medicine. The video is a beautiful way to show how he did it, how he found sobriety. It shows the lake and the land. Spiritually, Native people are connected to the land, and that’s where everything around us comes from. We connect to that in the video.”

Funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Portraits of Recovery” was created as a way for members of the Red Lake Band to share the successes of their reservation-based recovery programs with the wider community. Too often, the news that comes out about Native Americans and addiction is bad, said Reyna Gonzalez-Rivera, Red Lake Chemical Health project director. Not so long ago, she and Norris-Barrett attended a training that emphasized the importance of establishing positive community norms around addiction. They took that message to heart.

“What we took from that conference was that we wanted to spread positive stories in our community — especially stories that highlight recovery,” Gonzalez-Rivera said. “We’re always hearing about overdoses, about addiction, about the negative things that happen in our community. We decided we need to hear more inspiring stories of recovery, stories about people who are working to recover right here in Red Lake.”



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