Willeena George speaks at the sobriety conference.
By DANA HERNANDEZ
& LORI ANN EDMO
FORT HALL — The 7th Annual Carrying the Message Sobriety Conference was November 1-3 at the Shoshone-Bannock High School gymnasium.
Organizer Willeena George said the event was informational and healing for participants. She said the sweat was really powerful and overall the event ran smoothly. The conference is conducted every year at different locations where tribes want to host it. The first one was in Seattle, Wash.
The three day event featured speakers, talking circles, a sweat lodge ceremony, AA meetings, a social powwow, and served a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner. On Friday evening co-organizer Paul Frank, Fort Hall Business Council Vice Chairman Kevin Callahan and Willeena shared their stories about becoming sober.
Saturday afternoon Bob Johnson shared his story of sobriety. Willeena said the conference was good for the visitors to come visit Fort Hall and the attendees shared their experiences on Sunday.
Before the sobriety social powwow Saturday night, there was a sobriety countdown where coins were distributed. The emcees for the evening’s events was tribal member Jordan Broncho and FHBC vice chairman Callahan. Broncho began the sobriety countdown with 50 years of sobriety and ended at day one of sobriety. In total, the individuals who wanted to recognize their sobriety had a total of 190 years and one month worth of sobriety. The individuals were then given coins and Broncho said, “It all begins with one day taken at a time.”
After the sobriety count down, a grand entry for the social pow wow began. There were two drum groups Medicine Thunder and Bad Agency. Fort Hall’s Indian Day Queen, Thalia Brunette led the youth dancers into grand entry. The social powwow offered exhibition dancing, a women’s and men’s switch dance, round dance, owl and rabbit dance.
Members of the Adult Drug Court were recognized for their work. They include Russell Waite, Will Edmo, Lunita Cookie Ariwite, Catlin Palmer and Rosemary Surdam. Both George and Frank volunteer with the court.