Members of the Spirit Lake Nation gathered in the Cankdeska Cikana Community College auditorium Friday for a special event announcing the coming of a 15-bed residential treatment facility to the reservation.

Members of the Spirit Lake Nation gathered in the Cankdeska Cikana Community College auditorium Friday for a special event announcing the coming of a 15-bed residential treatment facility to the reservation.

The atmosphere was one of hope and optimism as Dave Wichmann, CEO of the United Health Group, North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull from the American Indian College Fund, Dr. Cynthia Lindquist from CCCC, Doug Yankton Vice Chair of the Spirit Lake tribe, Elder Skip Longie and Ermen Brown from CCCC, acting as the emcee, presented their comments on the proposed project.

Following an opening prayer by Elder Longie, Wichmann outlined the project that not only includes remodeling the building that houses the Spirit Lake Nation Recovery and Wellness Program but also provides dollars for helping local students obtain the education and credentials needed to operate the facility as a treatment center.

Lindquist spoke about a needs assessment done three years ago at Spirit Lake and that this project is one of the results of the people identifying the top priorities from that assessment. “The number one issue was a lack of resources to deal with addiction,” she said. “This is the project we want.” Adding that all along the way the college’s Board of Regents and the Spirit Lake Tribal Council have been supportive of the plan.

Crazy Bull’s comments were of a personal nature, talking about how addiction has touched everyone’s life in one way or another and she commended Lindquist and the partners in this alliance for helping through scholarships and cultural competency to “restore our healthy native community.”

Heitkamp said she was glad to be present for this announcement and expressed her enthusiasm for the project adding that “today we have a new partner in the United Health Group.”

Brown summed it all up in his closing comments when he pointed out the benefits that come from “doing this together.”