Participants in the Drug Prevention Walk head down Agency Road.
By LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — A Drug Prevention Walk was conducted March 13, 2020 in an effort to “Destroy the Drug Not Our People.”
More than 50 people participated in the event that began with speeches at the Fort Hall Trading Post parking lot and ended at the Recreation ballfield. Some participants carried signs while walking from the Trading Post, north on Eagle Road, west on Agency Road then left to the Recreation ballfield.
Carrying the Message group helped plan it, along with Tribal Drug Court participants. T shirts were given out to attendees.
Darrell Tendoy gave a prayer, Jason Butler sang an honor song, Zoee Longhair and Arthur Montes spoke about their recovery, Will Edmo from the Tribal Court staff talked, along with Fort Hall Business Council members Kevin Callahan, Donna Thompson and Lee Juan Tyler. Wes Edmo also spoke.
Will Edmo from the Drug Court staff said it’s an important facet to utilize the drug court for each individual whether they pass or fail – they learn something and gain skills. He said it’s good to see young folks present because they are the future leaders. He noted many present may have someone in their families who deal with disease or addiction, frustration or the recent losses. He’s happy to see Wes Edmo present and to see other families. The walk is an awesome opportunity for sound mind and body and he’s grateful for the day.
Zoee Longhair said it took a lot for her to be there as she’s in recovery and recently relapsed. She’s a member of the drug court committee and got word of a student in Wellpinit, Wash. Steven Ford Jr. who wanted to do a project that included a drug prevention walk so she said why not do it here and represent him? She’s paid her dues and said it feels good to have the drug court staff and peers all representing. She asked her grandmother Mary Lee Longhair to come to Fort Hall from Fort Duchesne, Utah to do the prayer before lunch. She encouraged participants to enjoy themselves and said she’s proud of her peers and the drug court committee. She thanked Willeena George and Paul Frank for helping her through her relapse noting she’s only human, the red road is selfish, she’s learning now and taking it day by day.
Arthur Montes is also in recovery and recently finished residential treatment that helped. He said using drugs was a hassle and he’s decided to change his life to go straight and sober. He’s now doing the drug court. “I’m happy to see you all, enjoy the walk,” he said, gather thoughts and do the right thing.
Fort Hall Business Council member Donna Thompson wished everybody the best and encouraged everyone to support one another. She thanked the speakers and congratulated them.
Lee Juan Tyler, council member, the council supports all of this as there’s been some sad things going on. He said the walk is part of healing and to the young ones present, “You bring blessing to us – it’s a prayer walk, songs all come together.” He said the drugs are poison and killing our people.
FHBC Vice Chairman Kevin Callahan said it’s always good to come out and do the walks and said he was lucky enough to participate in the sobriety conference. He thanked Paul and Willeena for all they do for the community. He also appreciates the drug court. “I’m glad everybody came out – stay strong like Lee Juan said, we all need to work together and do the right thing.”
Wesley Edmo said he thinks we are fortunate to have a good blessing from Willeena and her husband and the young people – doing things to change the world. He said remember how the older were – they were peaceful and the grandparents they practice what their elders told them. Everything is in a circle, the world and in order to live a good life, believe in the Creator and if one starts wondering away then bad things come into one’s life – alcohol and drugs are a bad spirit. Have to come back and believe the old teachings and come together as a community, “We have so much to be thankful for.” He acknowledged Chief Taghee for setting aside the land. He said every morning he drinks water because it replenishes the soul says a prayer. He noted alcohol and drugs divides the people and the circle need to be brought back together. He said we all have to do our part to learn values and respect – create a good trust.
Willeena George asked the drug court participants and staff to come forward to be acknowledged prior to the walk began. She said the activities they organize is to help the drug court participants heal and learn to live a sober life. She talked about the resolution before the Idaho Legislature regarding murdered, missing Indigenous people and encouraged people to keep them in mind.
At the ballfield Mary Lee Longhair gave the prayer followed by sack lunches being hand out to participants. Danyelle Three Irons did a jingle dance presentation wearing the red jingle dress given to the Carrying the Message group. Jordan Broncho talked about addiction in the family and gave a closing prayer.