Cultural beliefs and traditions, which help to create a community of healing and support, can be a great source of strength, especially for Tribal youth seeking
recovery from substance abuse. Despite these benefits, many Native American adolescents lack access to culturally relevant dependency treatment.
In 1986, leaders from seven Tribal nations based in Washington, Oregon and Idaho came together to discuss long-term chronic addiction and its impact on Native American youth.
Faced with no acceptable treatment options close to home, they formed a partnership with Indian Health Services to create the Inland Tribal Consortium, now called Healing
Lodge of the Seven Nations. Eight years later, with support from the State of Washington Health Care Authority, the Spokane Public Schools and other partners, Healing Lodge
opened a 45-bed residential treatment center for Native American/Alaska Native adolescents, ages 13 to 18, and other youth. This facility includes a fully accredited alternative
school on its campus so residents can earn educational credits toward a degree while in treatment.
Over time, Healing Lodge evolved its programming to a more holistic view of treatment. In 2013, it introduced a groundbreaking 90- to 120-day treatment model that fully integrates
Native American cultural and spiritual values and practices, along with best practices for chemical dependency counseling. In 2017, they opened an Orientation/Integration Unit, which
provides new residents time for treatment planning and a chance to acclimate to the therapeutic community.
“By blending traditional Tribal approaches with state-of-the-art intensive learning strategies, Healing Lodge has found a winning combination—one that is having a profound
impact on the long-term health and well-being of our youth,” said Rebecca Crocker, Executive Director. “Since 2013, we have served more than 1,200 adolescents, and 80 percent
have completed our program. Equally important, the one-year relapse rate for our residents is 23 percent, compared with a 90 percent national relapse rate following most treatment programs.
We are deeply honored to be part of their healing and to see our youth become the successful students and productive members of the community they were meant to be.”