Vision of Healing Comes to Pass

New Women’s Transitional Housing Facility in Bismarck Offers Hope and Strength in Addiction Battle for Many

By Logan J. Davis

The grand opening of the MHA Healing Hearts Lodge in Bismarck marked a special day in the life of many people who are working to bring help to those suffering from addiction. Chairman Mark Fox is one those individuals who is encouraged in the battle against addiction. The Healing Hearts Lodge is a 24-unit facility that will provide a safe living environment for women who have completed a treatment program and ready to really live again the way their ancestors would want them to. The transitional housing facility is an addition to the Good Road Recovery Center on the northern edge of Bismarck across from the Sage Coulee Outreach and Wellness Center. 

The momentous moment of the Healing Hearts Lodge created with the ribbon cutting by Councilwoman Judy Brugh, Councilman Fred Fox and Chairman Mark Fox
Councilman Fred Fox, Tribal Chairman Mark Fox, ND Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner and Councilwoman Judy Brugh

The Healing Hearts Lodge another important part of the much larger vision Chairman Fox had only a few years ago when there was nothing but a large field north of Bismarck where so many new buildings and development now stands proudly in service to the MHA Nation. The tribal chairman recalls the day he and Northeast Segment Councilman Mervin Packineau stopped on the hill that overlooks the campus of the many buildings that now stand completed on an expansive campus that has so many state-of-the-art buildings and services for those who are in need. On that day, the two tribal leaders had just finished a meeting at United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck.

“I asked Councilman Packineau what he saw and all there was here at that time was an open field and only a fireworks storage building was standing here. There was no Good Road Recovery Center, no Costco, nothing resembling what you see here today at all,” Chairman Fox stated. “I told Councilman Packineau of the vision I had and he agreed with me that it was a great idea and since that day, he has been supportive of all we have built here just like all of our tribal council leaders are for what kind of vision we have worked together on. I am thankful for their support and that important vision has enjoyed the support of our tribal leadership and many other important people.”

Chairman Fox related his memory and the vision he had last week at the grand opening ceremonies to many who came to see the vision that has become a reality for Chairman Fox and the tribal leaders who have joined together in full support of the project. Chairman Fox has seen too many of his tribal members lives destroyed by addiction and how substance abuse has become so prevalent in the native communities across the nation. His vision will continue to be a part of his mission to uplift the people who are trapped in addiction, and he feels that with the continued support of his fellow tribal leaders and the ones on the front lines working in addiction services, there will be many lives saved and a recovery of a proud tribal nation.

Four Bears Segment Councilwoman Judy Brugh and White Shield Councilman Fred Fox were two council representatives who attended the grand opening and spoke at the event. Councilwoman Brugh said the Healing Hearts Lodge is another reason that people who are fighting their addictions can have hope. Councilwoman Brugh understands how difficult addictions are to combat without proper support and she pledged to continue to work hard to give people the resources and support they are searching for to once again enjoy a normal life. Councilman Fox also spoke and he agreed that the new transitional housing facility is of critical importance and is a lifeline for people who need that transitional period from the toxic lifestyle that took them away from their dreams and families.

First Lady Kathryn Burgum was one of the several dignitaries who spoke along with Chairman Fox. Burgum shared her story of addiction and that the Healing Hearts Lodge will bring hope to the women who want to complete a healing journey from addiction.

North Dakota State Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner was one of other state dignitaries who came to offer his congratulations and praise for the new women’s transitional housing facility. The Healing Hearts Lodge will offer residents a safe, clean and sober living environment that has culture imbedded into the individual’s way of life. Residents will obtain education, employment, re-establish healthy relationships and develop life skills in a structured environment

Councilman Fred Fox spoke of the importance of the great work expected to be accomplished at the Healing Hearts Lodge
Cianna Hosie Rabbithead is a key staff member who will lead the efforts of the Healing Hearts Lodge and its clients who will benefit from the services
Councilwoman Brugh had words of encouragement and praise in her address to the people at the grand opening of the Healing Hearts Lodge
Chairman Mark Fox honored Kathy Whitman for her outstanding art piece in front of the Healing Hearts Lodge in Bismarck
MHA Chairman Mark Fox and First Lady Kathryn Burgum stand in front of the original Kathy Whitman sculpture at the Healing Heart Lodge

giving them the resources and tools needed to walk the ‘Red Road’. Residents must be a female over the age of 18 who is actively working a 12-step program, have a sponsor, be clean and sober and adhere to all rules of the Healing Hearts Lodge. Residents must also collaborate with tribal members, community, family members and treatment providers to support and promote high-quality recovery activities and results.

Chairman Fox was happy last week to see the vision that he had only a short few years ago come to fruition in such a short time. The Healing Heart Lodge was built with the idea of ensuring women and children of the MHA Nation the opportunity to rebuild their lives after substance abuse dependence. The facility will be family-oriented and the units are safe and secure apartments with a cultural center. It not only protects the resident and their children but it also doubles as a tornado shelter. The 18,250 square foot facility has on-site laundry, a mail room, computer station area for homework and research and a community room with a large fireplace to relax. The facility includes office space for staff, ample parking, and 24/7 security.

At the grand opening ceremony, there were several speakers that found it easy to bring positive energy to the many in attendance because of the realization of a fantastic vision that has been realized. There was a contingent of MHA Nation traditional dancers who performed as they wound their way around the front of the Healing Hearts Lodge to the songs of an MHA Nation  drum group. The dancing brought a sense of true spirituality to the entire ceremony last week.

Also adding to the magic of the historic event was the nearly 7-foot sculpture “Dancing to the Heartbeat of my Ancestors”, a silver-colored steel interpretation of an MHA fancy shawl dancer. It was hand-crafted by Kathy Whitman (Elk Woman) wo is originally from Parshall/Lucky Mound area where she grew up. An artist with a prestigious history for over 30 years, her art masterpiece previously stood at the Museum of Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Whitman spoke at the grand opening and how proud she is of having one of her works standing as a symbol of MHA Nation pride and culture at a place that heals the people.

Before the grand opening, Chairman Fox and staff members gave a tour to First Lady Burgum of the Sage Coulee Outreach and Wellness Center and the Good Road Recovery Center. The executive director of the Healing Hearts Lodge is Cianna Hosie-Rabbithead and the office manager is Fawn Packineau. For more information on the Healing Hearts Lodge, call 701-712-3260.

MHA Nation traditional dancers performed for the many attendees of the Healing Hearts Lodge as part of the grand opening ceremonies