Don Coyhis, Founder and President of White Bison, opened the Conference Thursday evening, September 18 with the words, "It makes you feel really proud to be an Indian when we listen to our elders tell us how the sobriety movement got going back in their youth in the 1940's and 50's.
set the stage for the entire conference when he
said, "There is a saying that goes, 'When the people lead, the leaders will follow.' After we get sober and start working on our wellness we begin drawing a boundary for ourselves.
and I met at a meeting for recovery advocates from around the country in the State of Minnesota.
We began to talk about what he
had discovered and what I was discovering in my historical research.
We began to conclude that this was an incredibly important story that we needed to share.
The story I want to share with you this morning is really about the untold story of resistance and resilience in recovery among Native American tribes.
We have now been working on this project for well over two years, combining both very traditional, scholarly, academic historical research, with interviews Don
has done with Native leaders as he
has traveled and criss-crossed the country.
and I began to converse about the legacies of these firewater myths, our conclusion was that generations of stigma and racial shame related to the drunken Indian stereotype are the most harmful.