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Letters to the Editor


To the Community of Akwesasne,

The Native Connection Home Detox Center opened November 22, 2011 when Akwesasne resident Emmy Mitchell responded to the community’s plea for help. After the unfortunate deaths of Landon Day and her nephew Resis (Sako) Lazore, Emmy began to work with individuals and their addiction with Oxycontin privately. To this day, she dedicates her work in their memory.

Word spread quickly throughout the community of her efforts which prompted other community members to ask her to help them and their family members through their detoxification process, after seeing positive results of other community members.

The issue was brought to Mohawk Council after the community stepped up and felt that something needed to be done. After discussing the matter with MCA, an urgent decision was made for the Home Detox Center to open as a pilot project for six months and would fund the project until further permanent funding was put in place.

As the community responded for help, we had 4 days to get the house furnished and staffed to meet the needs of all cousins coming through the program. With the help of Debbie Francis and her expertise in the Addiction field she was able to put all paperwork in place for the program.

The Home Detox Center then opened up to accommodate 4 “Cousins” at a time and a waiting list quickly developed. Cousins are referred to as relatives and the Mohawk name Kia:se gives it respect for how they refer to one another during their stay and even after they leave. They become part of an extended family that supports one another during their healing process.

In December 2011, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne declared a “State of Crisis” at the Federal level for the epidemic of Oxycontin abuse in Akwesasne.

The Native Connections Home Detox Center offers a wide variety of Holistic and culturally based services. It has been identified, from cousins who have been in previous detox centers and other detox facilities, that we are a unique program.

As of today’s date 46 cousins have entered the Native Connection Home Detox Center. Out of the 46 cousins, 12 left waiting to go into the Partridge House, 8 are waiting to go into Oka and 5 are working on going into other treatment centers. Seventeen went home, with some going into outpatient treatment at The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Alcohol/Chemical Dependency Program and The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Wholistic Health program. Four are currently going through the detoxification process and there is a current waiting list of approximately 12 people.

We have also offered education sessions to the extended care program which includes parents, grandparents and siblings. The goal is to reunite families after the devastation of addiction.

Reliv International’s Kalogris Foundation has decided to donate $3200.00 in product for a three month pilot project due to the positive testimonials we are receiving from cousins using the products during their detoxification process.

We would like to thank The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Ganienkeh Mohawk Territory, Three Feathers Casino, Brass Horse and community members for their financial contribution to the program. We would like to thank The River Mohawks and all the people who donated their time, baskets and money for the fundraisers. Thanks to all the people who donated living room furniture: Vivian Smoke, Roger Mitchell, Romaine Mitchell and Sylvie Skidders for the Television, also Misty Lazore for the kitchen table and chairs. We would like to thank Eli Tarbell for the four mattresses and box springs and the Akwesasne Home Support for the beds. We would like to thank the many people who donated towels, sheets, pots and pans, shampoo etc. And a special thanks to our group of elders who stood by us and provided guidance during our development and implementation of our program. Special thanks to elder Betty Swamp for her continued support and dedication.

Niawen kowa to our staff who have dedicated their time, life experiences, knowledge and compassion to help make a positive change for Akwesasne one person at a time. You don’t realize it, but you are the foundation of this whole program.

Today we can honestly say we have built a solid program and we are honored to have had the opportunity to be involved with this project.

We are informing the community that as of April 5, 2012 our current funding will be exhausted. Our last intake will be March 30, 2012.

Thank you and Niawen kowa,

The Native Connections Home Detox staff and cousins

613-575-2862 or


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