A Place for Families Helping Families

August 23, 2018

Cynthia Lindquist, Cankdeska Cikana Community College president; Tami Reller, UnitedHealthcare chief marketing and experience officer, United Health Foundation board member; John Chaske, elder; Myra Pearson, chairwoman, Spirit Lake Tribal Council; Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND); and Wicahpi Tawacinhehomni, Spirit Lake Recovery and Wellness director break ground for a substance-abuse treatment center in Fort Totten, N.D. The center is made possible by a $1.2 million grant from the United Health Foundation.

Renovation is well underway on the former group home at Cankdeska Cikana Community College (CCCC), North Dakota, following a recent ceremonial groundbreaking event with Spirit Lake Dakota Nation tribal leaders and community members, North Dakota Governor Burgum and UnitedHealthcare's Tami Reller in early August.  The former group home will serve as a new residential substance abuse treatment center for adults.

The groundbreaking ceremony highlighted the toll substance abuse has taken on the Spirit Lake community and the need for access to culturally competent treatment and support for long-term recovery. After a prayer and song from Tribal Elder John Chaske, Spirit Lake Tribal Chairwoman Myra Pearson shared stories from her childhood, growing up on the very land that is home to the new treatment center.

In addition to celebrating the groundbreaking, Reller and Cynthia Lindquist, CCCC president, announced that the American Indian College Fund recently awarded scholarships – through support from the United Health Foundation's Diverse Scholars Initiative – to two CCCC students to pursue behavioral health careers.

"We appreciate the opportunity to continue to grow our relationship with the Spirit Lake community and be here to celebrate an important milestone in our partnership. Our goal is to work hard, together, as we build a stronger and healthier Spirit Lake community and North Dakota," Reller said.

CCCC conducted a comprehensive community assessment that found community members ranked access to substance-abuse treatment facilities as the No. 1 community health care need. Developed in collaboration with the Spirit Lake Recovery & Wellness program, Tiospaye Okciyapi Tipi (home or place for families helping families) will help expand access to needed treatment services and will serve as the only area residential treatment facility outside the local law enforcement system. The project is made possible by a three-year, $1.2 million grant from the United Health Foundation to the Cankdeska Cikana Community College that was announced earlier this year.