Wellness to be focus at CCCC

Sue Kraft, Lifestyles Editor
Wellbriety Month will kick off at Cankdeska Cikana Community College in Fort Totten this Thursday with an opening prayer, walk/run and community luncheon. Above, participants in last year’s event prepare to release balloons with the names of those lost to suicide before beginning a walk/run in their honor.

For the third year in a row, Cankdeska Cikana Community College will serve as the lead organization for Wellbriety Month — a month set aside to educate the community on a number of issues and offer support to those in need.

Numerous public events are planned in Fort Totten this month, starting with the Wellbriety Month Opening Ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 2.

Erica Cavanaugh of CCCC said the main focus of the events will be sobriety and chemical dependence, along with suicide prevention.

“I've heard people say over and over again that they are glad someone is holding this event,” Cavanaugh said.

She said many of the people who attend have battled with addiction, been affected by a suicide or have lost a loved one in a car accident or some other chemical-related incident.

She said talking about their struggles can help a family to heal.

“It's usually something that's kept hidden. They're ashamed,” she said. “This helps the family with the healing process.”

The public support, she noted, may also help some residents to come forward with their problems with addiction.

“It encourages individuals in the community to get help,” she said. “They know they're not alone.”

The Wellbriety events will be held in conjunction with Wiconi Ohitika, or “Strong Life,” a program currently underway to bring attention to suicide prevention.

A number activities will be held throughout the month, including a door decorating contest, essay contest, cultural strengthening events and a community health fair.

All events will be held at Cankdeska Cikana Community College.

Thursday's kickoff event will begin at 9 a.m. with an opening prayer by Deacon Tony McDonald, followed by a welcome from President Cynthia Lindquist. Spirit Lake Tribal Chairwoman Myra Pearson will read the official proclamation and then a walk/run will be held to remember those lost to suicide. Registration for the walk will be held from 8-9 a.m.

After a memorial song by Dakota Express, a community luncheon will be held to wrap up the event.

“We have more participants from the community each year,” Cavanaugh said. “We hope it continues to grow.”