On Air
0:00
0:00
Open In Popup
MPR News

In their own image: Native Americans share stories of recovery

Share story

Sigwan Rendon of the White Earth Nation
Sigwan Rendon of the White Earth Nation fought methamphetamine addiction and homelessness. She's been sober for 55 days. Born in Minneapolis, she belongs to the White Earth Nation. She's been in treatment three times, twice at Mash-ka-wisen which she credits with saving her life. She wants others struggling to know that "It's okay to forgive yourself. It's okay to move on."
Facilitated by Evan Frost | MPR News

The Mash-ka-wisen treatment center held its 40th annual Celebration of Sobriety Powwow Saturday in Sawyer. Hundreds of people came from the state's 11 Indian reservations and from across the Midwest to celebrate sobriety with a weekend of dance. 

The center — referred to as Mash — opened on the Fond du Lac reservation in 1978, becoming the first addiction treatment center on a reservation in the United States. It now operates a 48-bed program in Sawyer and a 20-bed halfway house in Duluth, with plans to build another halfway house.

Many clients credit the culturally focused treatment with helping them in recovery.

"I went to a treatment when I was 19 and it didn't work. I relapsed. Then I came to Mash and I think it saved my life," said Sigwan Rendon, a member of the White Earth Nation from Minneapolis.

As MPR News photojournalists, we attended the powwow and helped people take self-portraits and share their stories of recovery.

Press the play button in each caption to hear stories in their own voices.