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Don Coyhis, President & Founder of White Bison
Don Coyhis, Mohican Nation, is the President and Founder of White Bison, Inc., an American Indian non-profit organization, located in Colorado Springs, CO. Don originally set out to raise awareness and treat alcoholism among Indian youth on the reservations. After studying the underlying causes of alcoholism, White Bison’s mission expanded to include drug addiction, dysfunctional families and relationships, as well as the American Indian suicide rate. From this, the Wellbriety Movement was born.
The teachings of Wellbriety go beyond being sober to include thriving in the community and being balanced emotionally, mentally, physical and spiritually. Over the past 26 years, Don has developed a series of culturally-based programs to address recovery and treatment, youth prevention and treatment, programs for healthy families, and healing from unresolved grief and traumatic loss due to intergenerational trauma. These programs are designed to help with all facets of family healing and have been implemented throughout the United States and Canada.
Don has dedicated his life to raising awareness about all issues surrounding alcohol and drug abuse, how it impacts the family system and, most importantly, how families and communities can heal from these issues.
Don Coyhis Accolades
• 2009 Winner of the Purpose Prize Award
• Author of several books addressing recovery, treatment and the prevention of of alcoholism and substance abuse
• Has provided technical assistance by national policy organizations such as the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and other national recovery organizations for Native American/Alaska Native communities.
Della Bad Wound Oglala Lakota
Employed in the human services field for 50 years working with women, children, youth and elderly. Her employment included the founding of Western South Dakota Senior Services in western South Dakota as the program director for 17 Nutrition sites for the elders. Denver Indian Health & Family Services, Winyan Wasaka-Women’s Alcohol Prevention Program, Seventh Generation Project, University of Denver; Elderhealth Program with Four World’s Development, Inc. in Lethbridge, Canada; and as a Native Sister with the Native American Cancer Research Project. She has been working with the documentation and preservation of the Lakota Language with the University of Colorado in Boulder for the past 6 years.
Della has one son, Michael and his significant other, one younger sister, one younger brother, many nieces and nephews, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Her extended family includes hunka sisters, hunka children and grandchildren. Hunka-making of a relative-adopted.
Dr. Henrietta Mann (N. Cheyenne)
Dr. Mann has been an integral part of the development of the Wellbriety family programs (Families of Tradition, Mothers of Tradition, Fathers of Tradition, Sons of Tradition and Daughters of Tradition). Her sharing of teachings of the Cycle of Life provided the framework for these trainings.
After years as a professor and an advocate for Native sovereignty and wellness, Dr. Henrietta came out of retirement to start a the Cheyenne / Arapaho Tribal Community College. She does the ceremonies and songs. She also reminds us what we stand for: “We do not need to remain locked into those areas where we feel a great deal of anger and hostility to the dominant population because, as White Bison says, we have to forgive the unforgivable. There are many that have and there are many who are yet to do that. Only when we forgive the unforgivable can we really say we are healing, that we have addressed that one aspect of our life. Saying we can forgive, now we can heal.”
A researcher of African History, Indigenous American Culture and Spirituality and the founder of A.T.U.M. (Awakening True Universal Minds), an organization committed to the research and dissemination of cultural, historical and spiritual wisdom of the original people worldwide. Kwame SunHorse is a member of The Committee for The African Holocaust Memorial at the Kemetic Institute and a member of the Council of Elders for The Healing Lodge of the Children of Two Shields. As a student at Malcolm X College, he majored in Black Psychology where his passion and innate gifts were further cultivated, leading him out of the university learning environment and into national libraries and the lectures of world renowned scholars. He has Facilitated traditional Rites of Passage programs in the Akan Fante tradition both nationally and internationally. With over twenty five years of experience in the field, Kwame SunHorse has served as a national consultant on best practices and human rights in SuperMax prisons and has presented and written extensively on the subject “From Slavery to Private Prisons”.
He is recognized as an Elder in the seven sacred ceremonies including the Inipi Sweat Lodge, Hemblecha Vision Quest and Sundance Rituals. He travels the world as a consultant, speaker, educator, community servant and spiritual helper and is a dedicated father to six, loving grandfather to seven, great grandfather to one and trusted brother to many. Kwame gives honor to his beloved teachers and guides who contributed to his education and deepened his understanding, his love of humanity and dedication to the work, including Carolyn and Jimmy Lackey, Dr. John Henrick Clark, Dr. Asa Hilliard, Dr. Anthony Menza, Dr. Jacob Carruthers, Baba Hannibal Afrique, Baba Obadele Williams, Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannon, Dr. Charsie MacIntyre, Dr. Bobby E. Wright, Dr. Nzinga Warfield Coppock, Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, William Bear Heart, Elder Raven, Chief Blue Star Eagle, Tom Blue Wolf, Grandma Marguerita, Adam Yellowbird, Chief Golden Eagle, David Swallow, Pam Red Buffalo, Dawn Skyweaver, Grandmother Silver Star, Audrey Scott Williams, Vision Bear and all who shared their journey, their passion and their wisdom
Theresa Strawberry (O’chiese First Nation)
Theresa Strawberry is an Elder from the O’chiese First Nation in the Treaty 6 Territory of Alberta, Canada. She shares her cultural knowledge and personal experience to send a message of empowerment and healing.
“Embrace the true power of healing our spirit.”
Providing an overall connection to communities, her vision is to be the model of connectivity used for all communities to break down barriers, to come together, heal, honor the spirit within us. Elder Strawberry is a powerful speaker with a wealth of knowledge. Speaker to Conferences, Elder Strawberry was honored with the Culture Award at the 2015 Esquao Awards.
Currently, Theresa plays a key role as an Elder Liaison at the Edmonton Institution for Women, and the Elk Island Catholic School division. She is a member of the Elder Advisory Board for Alberta Education. Her work with the Truth and Reconciliation Initiative is very meaningful, as she draws a very special connection with many.
“The past, present and future can be measured in the strength of our resilience to healing.”
Sparrow Goudey (Tsalagi/Cherokee/Wyandot) is the founder of Healing the Circle Workshops. With over 31 years of continuous sobriety, she has developed and conducts workshops at various treatment facility programs throughout Southern California for both Native and non-Native communities that assist adults and adolescents, affected by drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and mental illness by incorporating curriculum, traditional arts and spirituality as tools for change, growth and recovery.
Sparrow is an international trainer for White Bison, Inc. and the Wellbriety Training Institute. She is a certified facilitator and trainer for *Mending Broken Hearts for Adults and Youth (Healing from historical/intergenerational trauma and unresolved grief & loss), *Medicine Wheel & 12 Steps for Adults and Youth, *Mothers of Tradition, *Daughters of Tradition, *Warrior Down/Recovery Coach, *Understanding the Purpose of Life for Youth, and *Wellbriety and NACOA Celebrating Families curricula and is devoted to helping individuals and communities that suffer from addiction and trauma.
She is the Rep for Wellbriety Certified Treatment Facilities as well. www.whitebison.org
Sparrow is co-founder of NADARI (Native American Drug & Alcohol Recovery Initiative), assisting enrolled Natives across the States to secure culturally congruent treatment at little to no cost to the Client. www.NADARI.org
Darryl Lickers, member of the Turtle Clan
Darryl is originally from the Six Nations of the Grand River Mohawk Territory in southwestern Ontario Canada. He is of Tuscarora descent, and presently makes his home in Blackfalds, Alberta with his wife Karen. Darryl has recently retired from service with the Canadian Federal Government after 40+ years of service, both with the military (25 years) and his recent position with Corrections Canada as an Aboriginal Correctional Program Officer (23 years).
On December 1st, 2015, Darryl completed his career at Pê Sâkâstêw Centre Healing Lodge in Mâskwâcîs, Alberta where he delivered substance abuse, family violence, violence prevention (In Search of Your Warrior) programs as well as White Bison programs Medicine Wheel & 12 Steps, Fathers of Tradition and Mending Broken Hearts.
Darryl believes he is fulfilling his purpose in life as a helper by using his experiences and knowledge to help Native people heal from the effects of addiction and other abuses. Darryl has been a friend of Bill W. for the past 40 years (May 11, 1976). We are honoured to have Darryl as one of our Canadian trainers.
TANYA SCHUR, MA, Blackfeet-Métis
Tanya is a mother of two grown children. She follows a cultural way of life and the traditional teachings of the medicine wheel under the guidance of elders from Blackfoot and Cree Nations. She is committed to Urban Indigenous Community Development and the empowerment of Indigenous people.
She is a Health Rhythms ™ facilitator, Leadership on the Medicine Wheel facilitator, Emotional Intelligence and Diversity trainer, certified Mediator with Aiskapimohkiihs (Siksika Justice) and facilitates Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps at the Friendship Centre in Red Deer. She holds a MA in Leadership Studies from the Royal Roads University, Victoria. Her focus of research explored building cohesive teams from diverse work groups, transformational change, strategic planning, leadership development and organization design.
Her work in program design has included facilitating Urban Aboriginal Pre-Employment Programs for the Red Deer Aboriginal Employment Services, creation of the Aboriginal Youth Leadership Certification and implementation of the Urban Aboriginal Voices Society urban governance model. Since completing the The Canadian Women’s Foundation Leadership Institute, Tanya has turned her energy to designing the Community Development strategy for Asooahum Crossing Indigenous Cultural neighbourhood in Red Deer. Tanya is currently serving as the Director of Asooahum Crossing at the Red Deer Native Friendship Centre.
Mateo Littlebird was born in Taos New Mexico to a family of artists and lived in the North West on his way to Colorado. He has developed a sound understanding of fairness and advocacy to the underprivileged which, he brings to his professional endeavors by demonstrating consistency and dedication. He believes these attributes of character build meaningful legacies. Mateo has called Colorado Springs his home since 1998, and he has started his family here. He is the father of two boys and husband to his loving wife, Shelby Littlebird. While working in the non-profit sector, he has been inspired by the stories of individuals who had lost everything and fought their way to become a person they never dreamed. All while living a healthy life supported by the loving accountability held by themselves and their peers. These experiences drive his desire to bring equality of opportunity to our community regardless of past mistakes, status, or circumstance. His love of the arts, and being an artist himself, keep him confident that fostering creative compassion will encourage the free flow of ideas that will help solve Colorado’s, and the world’s, most desperate problems.
Brennan Ireland, Bear Clan from the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Ontario, Canada.
Brennan received and learned the Huadasunee way of life through his grandfather, which he passes on to his five children, family, and community. Brennan is an Addictions and Mental Health Counselor at Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre and certified Indigenous Addictions Specialist and a Canadian Certified Addictions Counselor.
Brennan has over 21 years of continued sobriety and uses the Wellbriety Programs to support self and community.
Mary (Hummingbird) Thompson, an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma.
Ms. Thompson was born and raised amongst her own Tribal people, using her tradition and cultural ways. She has lived in Sacramento since 1987 – learning and working in the community: serving California Natives as well as other Tribal people.
Throughout her career she has presented on Domestic Violence, White Bison’s Daughters of Tradition, Domestic Violence, Positive Indian Parenting and Youth leadership Development.
Mary has received her training and certification as a Domestic Violence Advocate through Harrington House and as a Domestic Violence Peer Counselor through WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment). She has obtained her AA degree as a Paralegal through MTI School of Business and Technology and is currently, working on getting her AA degree as a Substance Abuse Counselor through Breining Institute while being a Youth Advocate.
Currently, she sits on the Board of Directors for the Native Dads Network and the Advisor to the newly forming Sacramento United Natives Youth Leadership Council. Ms. Thompson has spent many years working with women, youth and families and has found this to be her passion and has made a life-long commitment to being of service. Mary has over 26 years of sobriety.
Winona Stevens, member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin.
Winona has been the Program Manager for the Dept. of Correction’s Native American Religious Program since 2013. She is responsible for religious services across 21 Native American Circles across Washington State.
Winona received her Master’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Washington. In addition to facilitating the Department of Corrections’ Native circles activities, she has held many positions including Adjunct Professor at Northwest Indian College, New Directions Anger Management Group Facilitator, White Bison Recovery Coach for Intergenerational Trauma and the 12 Step Medicine Wheel Program for Men and Women. Mrs. Stevens directed efforts in working closely with tribal communities and currently serves on a number of boards including Huy, Council for First Inhabitants Rights and Equality, and the University of Washington’s Native American Advisory Board. Her commitment to serving the Native American population impacted by incarceration led her to recently launch HEAL for Reentry (Helping Enhance Aboriginal Lives) – a nonprofit committed to assisting tribal people upon release from prison.
Albert G. Titman, Nisenon/ Miwok/ Maidu/ Pit River/Mexica
Albert is the lead addictions counselor at the Shingle Springes Band of Miwok Indians. He is a Registered Addiction Specialist through the Breining Institute of CA and a State Board Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor CADC II. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Native Dads Network. He also provides alcohol/drug abuse assessments, diagnosis, and treatment to individuals, couples, families, and groups to achieve more satisfying and productive marriage, family, and social adjustment.
He enjoys Miwok traditional ceremonial singing and dancing and cooking for his family. Albert provides culturally sensitive services and is blessed with the opportunity to incorporate Native American wellness modalities in his work. He is currently a trainer for White Bison’s Wellbriety Training Institute, and has over 12 years of experience in implementing the Medicine Wheel & 12 Steps program in his community.
National Wellbriety Drum
White Bison was founded in 1988 with a mission to bring 100 communities into healing by 2010. Originally, White Bison set out to help young people, but as it progressed, we discovered that we had to focus on individual healing first. We began to develop culturally-based programs for recovery and treatment of alcohol and substance use, and began working in Indigenous communities all over Turtle Island. As the need for these programs grew, a movement was born, and it became The Wellbriety Movement. Wellbriety means to live a sober life that is balanced emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. White Bison’s Mission today is creating and sustaining a grassroots Wellbriety Movement that provides culturally based healing to the next seven generations of Indigenous People.
The Wellbriety Movement has always been guided by a Council of Elders. As The Wellbriety Movement began to take hold, the Elders instructed us that the Movement must have a heartbeat to give it life.
In 2006, we designated the very first official National Wellbriety Drum, which was the Eagle Spirit Drum from Minnesota. The National Wellbriety Drum was to be present at all of our national gatherings in order to be the heartbeat of the Wellbriety Movement and provide the medicine of songs to our people to help them heal. The Eagle Spirit Drum fulfilled their 4-year commitment and helped provide some much needed healing to those that joined us at our gatherings.
In 2012, White Bison and The Wellbriety Movement was able to designate a new Wellbriety Drum. The National Wellbriety Drum is now comprised of a group of stellar guys that are located all over the country. They came from different drums with a wealth of experience in singing to form The Wellbriety Drum. We would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our Wellbriety Singers.The National Wellbriety Drum will continue to be present at our national gatherings. We wanted to thank each and every one of these guys for the service they are providing to the People and to The Wellbriety Movement. White Bison is grateful for you all! Here is what each one had to say about themselves
Hello, my name is Brian Perkins. I currently live in Arizona. I am half Navajo (Diné) from Bluewater, NM and half Spaniard/Mexican on my dad’s side. I have been singing and traveling for many years.
My name is Gabriel Castro Sr. I am from the Tubatulabal Tribe. I have been singing and dancing for 35+years. I have been blessed to have been taught by some great people along my life. I feel grateful to continue learning and sharing with all. Thank you.
Boozhoo, Aaniin, my name is Michael Bercier, Migizi Indoodem, I’m enrolled in the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians from Belcourt, North Dakota. I currently reside in Paicienes, CA. I am the grandson to Delphine Gournue and Richard Bercier and son to Susie Bercier. I was introduced to the drum ASK CREEK SINGERS from San Jose, CA under the drum keeper Tim White Weasel and Billy LeBeau when I was about 15 or 16 years old. The day I was brought out into the arena as a Fancy Dancer they sounded so good that every time they kicked up a song I danced, and towards the end I asked my cousin to introduce me to the guys (her 3 brothers were singing at that time). So I shook all their hands and from there I never really left. I was the shy guy but with their help I became a not so shy guy and here I am today. I’m very grateful to have had many miles of travel, singing and dancing from place to place meeting new family and friends. Thank you to all my teachers along the way. Chii miigwetch.
Hi my name is Eric Adam Canel, I was born in Sun Valley, California. I am part Mexican and Native American. The Mexican side comes from my mother and the Native American side comes from my father. I come from the Apache Nation. I have been singing northern style powwow for 25+ years. I now live in Washington State.
My name is Larry Heredia, Ojibway Nation. I have a wife and 4 kids. I’ve been singing for 25 years and currently live in California.
My name is Billy LeBeau. I am a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe/ Pueblo of Acoma. I have been singing since the mid 90’s under the leadership of Tim White Weasel. I carry my family drum name of Swift Cloud Drum at all powwows wherever we are called upon. Today, it is always an honor and a privilege to sing with my Wellbriety brothers around the drum.
Our Board of Directors
Henry C. Lozano
Henry has had the honor to serve on the White Bison Board of Directors for over 25 years. Henry is of Apache, Tarahumara, and European descent. He was named Deputy Assistant to the President and the Director to the USA Freedom Corps. Prior to his tenure as Director, he was appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the Senate to serve on the Board of Directors for the Corporation for National & Community Service. He was also appointed by President Clinton to serve on the President’s Advisory Commission on Drug-Free Communities and appointed as Co-Chair of the Commission by President Bush.
He has served as a Senior Advisor to the Founder of U.N.I.T.Y. and currently serves on the Board of Trustees.
Dan has worked in the mental health and addictions field for over two decades. He is recognized internationally as an expert on males and trauma. In the fall of 2015, Griffin was honored to be named as a senior fellow at The Meadows.
He is the owner, founder, and lead consultant of Griffin Recovery Enterprises, Inc. He served as the state drug court coordinator for the Minnesota Drug Court Initiative, from 2002 to 2010, and was also the judicial branch’s expert on addiction and recovery. Griffin was awarded Hazelden’s first training fellowship for addiction counseling in 1998.
He has worked in a variety of areas in the addictions field: research, case management, public advocacy, recovery courts, teaching, and counseling. Griffin’s latest book, “A Man’s Way through Relationships”, is the first trauma-informed book written to help men create healthy relationships while navigating the challenges of internalizing the “Man Rules.” Griffin is also the author of “A Man’s Way through the Twelve Steps”: the first trauma-informed book to take a holistic look at men’s recovery. He also co-authored “Helping Men Recover”, the first comprehensive gender-responsive and trauma-informed curriculum for men.
Griffin’s graduate work was centered on the social construction of masculinity in the culture of Alcoholics Anonymous. In 2012, Griffin was one of the national experts invited by SAMHSA to help build a consensus definition of the terms “trauma” and “trauma-informed.” Griffin was a founding member of Faces and Voices of Recovery and served as a Minnesota delegate at the first National Recovery Summit in St. Paul in 2001. He served on SAMHSA’s National Recovery Month Committee for over ten years. In 2004, Griffin was one of 100 experts invited from around the country to create a consensus definition of recovery from addiction for SAMHSA.
Griffin helped to start the first recovery advocacy organization in Minnesota, RecoveryWorks, in 2001. A President’s Award winner in 2006 for leadership in the addiction and recovery field in Minnesota, Griffin lives in Minnesota with his wife, Nancy, and his daughter, Grace, and has been in long-term recovery since he graduated college in May of 1994. Dan’s areas of expertise include: men’s issues, trauma and trauma-informed services, addiction and recovery, recovery courts and other treatment courts, working with and understanding the twelve step culture, and the special needs of young people in recovery.
Marlin is from the White Earth Reservation in northwest Minnesota. He has over 27 years of experience in working in the fields of adolescent treatment of emotional/behavioral disorders, family-based social work, chemical dependency, restorative justice practices, and as a trainer/consultant in the wellness field.
He is the president of Black Stone Consulting. Marlin is also a film producer/director and is the principal owner of Painted Sky Productions. Marlin is a board member and Master Trainer for White Bison Inc. and is a leader in the national Wellbriety Movement.
Nicole “Nicky” Bowman, Lunaape/Mohican
Nicole is the daughter of Peter Bowman (Stockbridge Munsee Band of the Mohican Indians) and Kathleen Bowman, granddaughter of Morris “Mose” Bowman, and great-granddaughter of Beaumont Bowman. Her academic lodge sits at the intersection of truth, spirituality, traditional knowledge, sovereignty, governance, and evaluation.
She comes from a long line of entrepreneurial, activist, community- and family-centered people. Her spirit name is Waapalaneexkweew Neeka Ha Newetkaski Newa Opalanwuuk (Flying Eagle Woman Accompanied by the Four Eagles). She’s been a proud resident of Shawano County (S-M Reservation, Morgan Siding, Gresham, and Shawano, Wisconsin) for over four decades.
Nicky is a traditional Lunaape/Mohican woman who has been an active Indigenous community member for 40 years and an Indigenous evaluator for over two decades.
Philip Diaz MSW LL.D (H) DACACD
Administrative / Leadership – Phillip formulated many levels of county, state, and federal public policy. His public policy health positions included planning responsibility for a $24 million dollar mental health and addiction system, a county employee assistance program for 3000 employees and a $1.5 billion dollar federal drug prevention system. A not-for-proﬁt position includes CEO of a $13 million dollar behavioral health agency, in Jacksonville, Florida, with 250 employees. Numerous other leadership positions included responsibility for grant acquisitions, implementation and oversight. Phillip was also a cofounder of numerous community-based advocacy organizations, including the National Association for Children of Addicts.
Governmental Affairs – Phillip was in the White House Drug Policy Ofﬁce as Associate Director for Drug Prevention. In that position, he was responsible for directing the country’s drug prevention policy in collaboration with states, communities, and federal agencies. He also worked as Development Ofﬁcer for Nova Southeastern University, the Recovery Network (a cable TV network ), and a number of community agencies.
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Recovery is a process, not an event. Founder Don Coyhis shows us how to conduct talking circles.
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