Partnering to Expand Access to Substance Abuse Treatment for the Spirit Lake Dakota Community

February 19, 2018

Cankdeska Cikana Community College and United Health Foundation were joined by Spirit Lake Dakota community leaders and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to announce a new partnership to expand access to substance abuse treatment for the Spirit Lake Dakota Community. (L to R: Spirit Lake Tribal Council Vice Chairman Doug Yankton, Cankdeska Cikana Community College President Cynthia Lindquist, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, UnitedHealth Group CEO Dave Wichmann)

On the Spirit Lake Reservation in North Dakota, the concern around drug use and alcohol abuse has become so heightened that the Spirit Lake Tribal Council has declared a “state of emergency.” Members of the community ranked access to substance abuse treatment facilities as the number one community health care need, according to a community assessment conducted by CCCC.

To help address this need, the Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC) and United Health Foundation are launching a new $1.2 million, three-year partnership to expand access to substance abuse treatment for the Spirit Lake Dakota community and support long-term recovery and wellness. 

The newly formed partnership will support the development and launch of Tiospaye Okciyapi Tipi (home or place for families helping families). Working in collaboration with the Spirit Lake Recovery & Wellness Program, the college will renovate a former group home to a 15-bed residential substance abuse treatment center for adults, where individuals can receive culturally sensitive treatment and support in their recovery. The center will serve as the only residential treatment facility in the area that is accessible to those outside the local law enforcement system. The partnership will also provide in-kind expertise and counsel to develop a culturally competent staffing model and cultivate a workforce pipeline for effectively delivering addiction treatment and prevention services in a rural setting.

Senator Heitkamp, CCCC students and Spirit Lake Dakota Nation tribal leaders and members had an opportunity to see the architectural drawings of the new treatment center during the recent grant announcement event. “This partnership with United Health Foundation is critical in addressing one of our most serious health challenges in a manner that reflects our traditions and culture,” said CCCC President Cynthia Lindquist.

Spirit Lake Wellness and Recovery Building Rendering

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