Health | Law

MPR: Leech Lake Band partners with county for wellness court

"Fred Isham sits near a blazing fire just outside Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. The 37-year-old tribal member helped build the fire to heat carefully selected stones that will be used in a nearby sweat lodge.

Inside the sweat lodge, Isham and others will pray and conduct spiritual Ojibwe ceremonies.

Isham participates in the Cass County - Leech Lake tribal "wellness court." He's encouraged to use ceremonies and other cultural activities as part of his recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. It's not required, but evidence suggests cultural and spiritual connections can help the healing process.

"The sweat lodge to me... in a sense what you're doing is you're going back into the womb of the mother. When you come back out there it's a rebirth. You're clean again," said Isham, who is a member of the Boise Forte Band of Ojibwe but grew up here."

Get the Story:
Unique court lets tribal and state judges fight addiction together (Minnesota Public Radio 8/13)

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Column: Leech Lake Band takes new path with wellness court (8/6)

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