• About
  • Path To Recovery
  • Facility
  • Departments
  • Resources

October 28, 2011 - MusiCares and the Grammy Foundation notified a program resident that they placed 2nd in their annual contest - here are some links to interviews and articles about this astounding achievement by a very talented young man:

KHQ Channel 6 TV in Spokane, WA

KLEW Channel 3 TV in Lewiston, ID

Facebook Site for MusiCares and the Grammy Foundation listing all 3 winners

October 4, 2011 - State of Washington, Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery recognizes the Healing Lodge with their Innovative Program of the Year award at their annual statewide Behavioral Health conference in Yakima, WA.  Dr. Martina Whelshula, Executive Director and Deekon Jones, Expressive Arts Program Manager contributed to the conference with a presentation on the Music Program that has been receiving recognition as an innovative way to engage the youth more deeply in their treatment programs.

August 26, 2011 - John Culton, Eastern Washington Director for Senator Patty Murray's office toured the Healing Lodge and met with the Board of Directors.  Mr. Coulton thanked the Board, "Thank you for having me, I am pretty impressed."

August 20, 2011 - Several guests gathered with staff and residents at the Healing Lodge to rebuild the female Sweat Lodge.  Cultural Specialist Kelly Shirley lead the activities along with Executive Director Martina Whelshula.  The day included many songs and prayers as a larger Sweat Lodge was hand built to better serve the increased number of female residents attending the Healing Lodge.

June 29, 2011 - CD Release Party for The Dark Road


May 2011 - The Healing Lodge received outstanding recognition from the CARF survey and has earned another 3 year accreditation!

2011 iAward Honorable Mention:  National Recognition - The Healing Lodge's Music Program has won national recognition as an innovative program in behavioral health and treatment services!  The award will be presented at a national converence in Boston, Massachusetts.

March 30 - April 1, 2011 - The Healing Lodge will be visited by a surveyor from CARF International as part of the three year continuing accreditation process.  Used as the GPRA measure with Indian Health Services and recognized by the Washington State Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) as an important performance measure, the Healing Lodge welcomes the collaborative survey method used by CARF to not only assess services, but to provide a platform for improvement.

March 7, 2011 - Representatives from the Tulalip Tribe visited the Healing Lodge to tour the facility and to find out how they can integrate the services offered into their tribal treatment programs.

February 25, 2011 - Representatives from the Klamath Tribe visited the Healing Lodge to tour the facility and to find out more about how the treatment program is delivered.  The Klamath Tribe has a youth inpatient treatment program available in the southern Oregon area.

January 26, 2011 - Martina Whelshula, PhD, Executive Director of the Healing Lodge attended a retirement party in Lincoln City, Oregon for Portland Area Indian Health Services Director Doni Wilder.  Dr. Whelshula presented Ms. Wilder with a custom made placque honoring her years of service and decorated with a hand beaded medalian depicting the Health Lodge logo.

January 21, 2011 - Students from the Sinpaqcheen School attended both ladies and mens basketball games at Whitworth University as a guest of Dr. Warren Fredrichs, Athletic Director.  Both teams were victorious!  All the students enjoyed the outing and were treated to sodas, popcorn and certificates for a free sandwich at Arby's.  Several students were invited to participate in the free time activities including shooting 3-pointers for more Arby's sandwich certificates.  The Whitworth mascot, a Pirate, spent time entertaining the students.  Members of the Sinpaqcheen basketball team attended practice with the Whitworth Pirates the evening before and had a chance to meet and play with the team. 

January 13, 2011 - The Healing Lodge Music Program releases their debut album - "The Dark Road."  A compilation of music and poetry readings by program residents.  Music available on Itunes.

October 2010 - A Round Dance will be held at The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations on October 30,2010 in celebration of Autumn.  All are invited.  Call 509-533-6910 to find out more.

September 2010 - ATNI (Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians) had a tour and dinner at The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations on September 21, 2010 during their annual conference being held the same week at Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, Washington.

September 2010 - Martina Whelshula, PhD, Executive Director of The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations made a presentation to the Health Committee of ATNI on Monday, September 20, 2010.

July 2010 - The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations, along with the Washington State Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery announced the expansion of treatment services to include youth with Co-Occurring Disorders.  The treatment program has been divided into three smaller programs in order to provide more individualized and focused treatment for the youth being served.

January 2010 - Dr. Martina Whelshula worked with the Spokane Tribe to establish a monthly Yapqinm - a monthly interagency consortium of service providers within Spokane and on the reservation who are working with families and children in need.  Dr. Whelshula helped develop interagency memorandums of agreement, collaborate to provider services to the community, developed by-laws on how they will govern the committee and handle arrangements between them.  Community development work in human services.

October 2009 - A 4-day GONA (Gathering of Native Americans) was sponsored by the Healing Lodge at Gonzaga University to discuss prevention activities at the community level, bringing forward programs that are working and sharing them with other Native American communities.

Press Release - Culturally Based Treatment 8.10.2009

Chemical Dependency Treatment Program Offers Inpatient Treatment for Adolescents Dealing with Alcohol and Drug Addictions

Spokane, WA - August 10, 2009 - The growing alcohol and drug problem among tribal communities was the driving force behind the establishment of an adolescent drug and alcohol treatment center back in 1988. Tribal Councils and members of the Nez Perce Tribe, Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Umatilla Tribes, Colville Tribes, Kootenai Tribe, Kalispel Tribe, and Spokane Tribe along with congressional representative and the Portland Area Indian Health Service came together to form a consortium to start the program. Further funding in 1996 lead to building a state-of-the-art campus of three buildings on 38 acres located in Spokane Valley, Washington. Additional land purchases increased the size to 50 acres of beautiful timbered property seemingly secluded within a residential area.

According to Dr. Martina Whelshula, Executive Director, "We hear about the tremendous need for inpatient treatment, yet many tribal members are surprised to learn that our program exists. We need to make it easy for the families that need us to access the services that we offer."

Dr. Whelshula is a member of the Arrow Lakes Nation of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. She has advanced degrees in counseling, is a licensed mental health counselor, and holds a doctorate in Indigenous Cultures. She goes on to say, "We have an opportunity here to create a new future for our youth - to break the cycle of addiction that plagues many of our families. The program was set up for our adolescents because we felt that the opportunity for change needs to start early."

Funding for treatment is provided through private insurance, the State of Washington, or directly from Indian Health Services. No funds are required from tribal programs or Contract Health Services to pay for treatment. For those youth enrolled in a federally-recognized tribe, or a direct descendent, there is no cost for treatment. Coverage for any medical incidents whil in treatment is required. This can be guaranteed through private insurance, Contract Health Services, or Washington or Montata state Medicaid.

A Culturally Based Program

The Healing Lodge employs two cultural specialists.  Becky Zacherle is an enrolled member of the Colville Confederated Tribes with nine years experience at The Healing Lodge and four in the Culture Department [2010 update: Becky has returned to school and Kelly Shirley, CDP, member of the Navajo Nation, is now serving as our Culture Specialist.]  Eric Mitchell is the second cultural specialist and is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. Eric has worked at the Healing Lodge for three years. The Healing Lodge's approach is based on the spiritual and cultural teachings of the White Bison Program, yet is non-tribal specific.

Both specialists utilize various teaching tools including the Sons and Daughters of Tradition curriculum, the medicine wheel, talking circle, smudging and the sweat lodge ceremony. The Cultural Department's purpose is to provide education and awareness of options so that the youth can develop their own spirituality. The two specialists provide training and serve as a resource to the other staff, as well as educating the young people.

Additionally, the Healing Lodge frequently brings in guest speakers, elders, guest drums and people from the community - all through structured activities. The Culture Department is active in the community arranging off-unit opportunities for the young people to utilize in re-connecting with ther cultural heritage.

For over 21 years the Healing Lodge has provided a Native American culturally based program for youth ages 13 to 17. Referrals come from the seven consortium tribes, all tribes within the Portland Area Indian Health Services area, Washington state residents, and from tribes in the western United States and Alaska. While most referrals come from outpatient alcohol and drug addiction counselors, any caring adult can assist a family in making a referral. Probation officers, social workers, school counselors, medical staff, clergy and even family friends can work on behalf of the family to get a youth into treatment.  The Healing Lodge also works directly with parents or relatives to assist in the admission process.

Kelly Gavoille, Admissions Coordinator for the Healing Lodge says, "We try to make access as easy as possible. There are several requirements that need to be met before a youth can be admitted, and I am here to help guide the referents and families through that process. We need to assure that we are an appropriate program for the youth, and that we are able to meet their needs." [2010 update - Kelly has been promoted to Special Projects Manager/Human Resources, and Elizabeth Best has been promoted to Admissions Coordinator.] The admission process begins with a review of the individual needs through a questionnaire (intake packet), physical, chemical dependency assessment and if appropriate, mental health evaluation. Each of these is completed and sent to the admissions office for review. Once it is determined that the Healing Lodge is an appropriate placement, then legal requirements like Immunization Records, identification, TB Test results, and court orders are added to complete the file. "Gathering the information can seem overwhelming, which is why a referent can be a great help in assisting the family," adds Ms. Gavoille.

More information can be found on the website - www.healinglodge.org - including the intake packet. The Admissions office also welcomes phone calls at 509-533-6910 extension 340.


Elizabeth Best, Admissions Coordinator
The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations
5600 East 8th Avenue
Spokane Valley, WA 99212

Phone: 509-533-6910 ext. 240                           Email: Elizabethb@healinglodge.org

← Back to all news