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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 - 2010 Service Expansion 7.21.2010

The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations and the Division of Behavioral Health & Recovery, part of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, are pleased to announce the addition of 15 adolescent contract beds available in the Spokane Valley youth chemical dependency treatment center beginning July 1, 2010.  These new beds are in addition to the 10 adolescent contract beds currently provided for both male and female youth 13 to 17 years of age. The Healing Lodge's, Executive Director, Dr. Martina Whelshula says, "This is an almost once in a lifetime opportunity to expand our services at a time when we thought cuts in funding would call for a reduction." These contract beds became available when a treatment center on the West side of the state closed their doors.

The Healing Lodge has been providing inpatient substance abuse treatment to adolescents in the Spokane area since 1988.  Seven Tribal Nations from Washington, Oregon and Idaho came together in the early 1980's to establish the program as a way to address the increasing alcohol and drug problems on their reservations. The program was moved to its current location in the Spokane Valley in 1996. The Indian Health Service in conjunction with the seven tribes purchased 38 acres and built a 3-building complex on the property. Subsequent land purchase has brought the total acreate to 50 and provides a wooded oasis in the middle of residential property just outside the Spokane city limits.

The program has grown and developed over the years, and most recently changed the treatment model to be more therapeutic for the young residents, introducing a Native American curriculum based on Life Cycles. Throughout the 90 to 120 day stay in treatment, youth explore the characteristics of several animals representing components of the life cycles. The Coyote, Elk, Eagle and Hummingbird become representatives of the youth's journey in treatment, and in their life after treatment. An Advanced Aftercare Counselor works with the youth early in their treatment to identify and establish various helpful components of their care after they leave the Healing Lodge. The aftercare support and activities that occur one they leave treatment can mean long term success for those returning to their home communities.

This increase in our capacity allows us to establish three distinct programs for our young people. The first two programs are for female and males and focus primarily on chemical dependency treatment. The third is the new male co-occurring disorders program focusing on chemical dependency while providing a higher level of mental health support. Dr. Whelshula adds, "Each of the three programs will be providing distinctly different components - as needed by each population. The young ladies will be exploring their unique roles in society by learning about childbirth and parenting, and we hope to develop a perinatal and young mothers' program in the future. The males will be looking at their roles in families - and what it means to be a male in today's communities. Dr. Whelshula adds, "Our young people are struggling to find out where they fit, what they need to do, and messages sometimes come through unclear. We want to help them find their direction so that drugs and alcohol no longer have the appeal they currently have for them. These young people are our future... we want to help them succeed."

As a referral treatment center, the Healing Lodge receives young people from Washington State and throughout the Western United States when a Chemical Dependency Professional assesses the individual's need and determines they would benefit from an inpatient treatment stay. Our Admissions Department lead by Elizabeth Best, Admissions Coordinator, works closely with the referring counselor and the family to make sure that the admission is appropriate, and that the Healing Lodge can provide all the services necessary for the applicant. Elizabeth can be reached at 509-533-6910 ext. 340, and the Admissions Application can be downloaded from the website at www.healinglodge.org.

In 2002, Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government recognized the unique relationship formed by the seven tribal governments. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development honored the tribes contributions in governance because of the unique situation where the tribal councils for the Colvilles, Spokane, Kalispel, Kootenai, Coeur d'Alene, Nez Perce and Umatilla Tribes came together to address their common needs. The cooperation between tribes was rare at the time, but by pooling their resources they were asble to establish an effective program that is available to all youth, from any cultural background.

These new contract beds bring the total available through state funding to 11, and from Medicare funding to 14 for a total of 25 beds contracted through DBHR. The remaining 17 beds are available for private funding and for those eligible tribal members and their descendants through Indian Health Services without other financial resources.  Individual tribal funds are not needed to pay for treatment.

The poet William Stanley Merwin says, "We are the echo of the future." When the seven tribal councils came together to create the Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations, they knew that helping the young people to start out life from a better place would have long term effects on their tribal communities. Their generosity in opening the treatment program to all youth from any culture demonstrates what has always been true for our local tribes - that sharing resources means a better life for all.

For more information contact:

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

Phone:  509-533-6910 ext. 340                   Email: elizabethb@healinglodge.org

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