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Lakota Country Times: Rosebud Sioux Tribe takes on meth use

Children dressed warmly for the candle light vigil held in Rosebud, South Dakota. The gathering was held to pray for everyone who is affected by methamphetamine. Photo by Vi Waln

Candle Light Vigil held on Rosebud
By Vi Waln
Lakota Country Times Correspondent

ROSEBUD – People of all ages braved a chilly night to take part in a candle light vigil organized by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe’s Meth Initiative Program.

“We wanted to offer prayers for people affected by meth on our reservation,” stated Lori Walking Eagle. She serves as the Youth and Family Specialist for the Meth Initiative. “This is a time to pray for everyone, including users, family members and everyone else affected by this drug.”

There is also a Mothers Against Meth Support Group that meets on the first Saturday of each month. “People wanted guidance so we started the group,” stated Walking Eagle.

The meetings begin at 1pm at the Rosebud Community Building. The meetings are open to the public. The monthly meetings are structured similar to a Talking Circle. That is, the people who attend and the statements they make in the group remain confidential. Rosebud Community supports the group by waiving the $75 fee to use the building for these meetings. Other reservation communities are encouraged to form support groups in their area.

A family attended the candle light vigil to pray for people who are affected by meth use. The white candles were provided by Tribal Land Enterprise. Photo by Vi Waln

About 75 adults, young people and children held white candles as they formed a circle in the parking lot east of the tribal building. “When we make a solid hoop, there is nothing stronger,” stated Ben Rhodd, who offered the opening prayer.

“As a mother I didn’t notice right away that a family member was using meth,” stated Molina Richards, who helped organize the event. “It’s a very traumatic experience for all of us. There is really nothing you can do until they are ready to get well. There is a lot of hard decisions you have to make when a family member is using meth. I knew I wasn’t alone and I needed to reach out to encourage everyone to take our communities back.”

Other speakers included Russell Eagle Bear and Bernadine Wilson. Music was provided by Skeeter Leader Charge.

Ben Rhodd offered an opening prayer. He also told the group there is nothing stronger than a circle. Photo by Vi Waln

Refreshments were served following the prayer circle. Rich Roether made some delicious hot chocolate, courtesy of All Stop, that was enjoyed by everyone who attended. Cookies were generously donated by the Tribe’s Sand & Gravel program. The long white candles were provided by Tribal Land Enterprise.

The Mothers Against Meth Support Group will host their monthly meeting on Saturday, December 5, 2015. The meeting will begin at 1pm CST at the community building located near the fairgrounds in Rosebud. For more information on the Meth Initiative Program, please call (605) 747-2900.

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