The Red Road to Wellbriety in the Native American Way

Aug 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-1: The Winding Road to Student Success, Media Reviews

White Bison, Inc. (2002), Colorado Springs, Colorado
ISBN 0-9719904-0-9 – 278
Paperback, $15.00

Review by Victoria Beatty

This book translates the Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous into Pan-Indian cultural terms. The coinage, “wellbriety,” refers to the idea that “recovery is more than the removal of alcohol and other drugs from an otherwise unchanged life…It is the beginning of a quest for harmony and wholeness within the self, the family, and the tribe.”

The program recognizes that Native Americans suffer from historical trauma that is not cured solely by the removal of addictions. The book urges a global, holistic model based on the idea of a “Healing Forest.” If a tree grows in a sick forest, it soon becomes diseased. Although it may be cured through removal from the forest for treatment, it will soon become diseased again when it is returned to the unhealthy conditions of the forest.

The book is recommended for all tribal libraries and libraries serving Native Americans.

Victoria Beatty, librarian at Diné College, travels a circuit of 450 miles to bring library services and instruction to the college’s Arizona centers, from Window Rock to Tuba City.

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