September 08, 2008 –
MAYETTA: The Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) will receive a $350,000 grant for a drug court from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The announcement came last Thursday in a press release by U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren who said, “We want to assist the tribal government in its efforts to address the problem of substance abuse. This plan emphasizes a comprehensive approach to the healing of mind, body and spirit.”
The grant, funded by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, will be spent to plan and implement a Healing to Wellness Court designed to provide an adult treatment program for non-violent substance abusers. Offenders will work through a series of four steps: Wapttigwe (white thunder) which begins with detoxification, Sewttigwe (yellow thunder) which focuses on stablizing the offender’s life, Skepettigwe (green thunder) in which offenders put into practice the skills they have learned in treatment, and Kitettigwe (black thunder) which focuses on the preventing relapse.
The new alternative sentencing program that is scheduled to begin next month will be directed by Royetta Rodewald, Judicial Administrator of the PBPN Tribal Court.
The first phase of planning for a drug court on the PBPN reservation began in 2004 with the implementation of a PBPN Drug Court Planning Committee that was comprised of tribal members and PBPN government staff through the tribe’s grant office. Dawn LeClere, grant writer for the tribe who was instrumental in the four-year grant process, said that they are hoping that anywhere from18 to 20 families can be helped by the new funding.