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Stepping up to the challenge

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MENOMINIE, Wis. – In its 25th year, the National Rural Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse is the only national program addressing the challenges of alcohol and drug abuse in rural communities. Each Institute highlights the latest evidence-based practices for the improvement of rural services for addiction treatment, and many sessions are focused on the unique issues of the American Indian population.

Participants can learn about current and emerging topics with other rural alcohol and drug abuse professionals, federal agency representatives, nationally known Institute faculty and resource providers throughout the United States. The conference provides 25 hours of training with mini-workshops and will be held May 31 through June 4 at the University of Wisconsin in Stout Memorial Student Center, in Menomonie.

 2009 institute co-sponsors include: • American Indians Against Abuse

• Bureau of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service – State of Wisconsin

• Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

• Center for Substance Abuse Treatment

• National Rural Alcohol and Drug Abuse Network, Inc.

• Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Inc.

• Scaife Family Foundation

• U.S. Department of Justice – Bureau of Justice Assistance

• Wisconsin Council on Compulsive Gambling

Features of interest to the Native American community are:

• The pre-conference opening session will feature a Native American smudging ceremony and prayer by Kenneth Ninham of Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Inc.

• Opening day keynote speaker is Don Coyhis, member of the Mohican Nation and founder/president of White Bison, Inc., an American Indian nonprofit corporation with the vision: “To bring 100 Native American communities into healing by the year 2010. He will present “The Wellbreity Movement” (how the connection to natural laws creates healing) and “Honoring Differences” (a four-fold approach to diversity, with an exploration of the interconnectedness between people and the work culture).

• Kenneth Ninman will also present “Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention from a Native American Cultural Perspective” (tribal remedies and prevention techniques, both spiritual and cultural, to treat domestic abuse and chemical dependency).

The Institute also offers scholarships to facilitate participation by those without funding. For full conference details call (715) 232-2793.