White Bison

The Wellbriety Movement Blog

The State of the Wellbriety Movement 2018

Welbriety-Movement-logoThe State of the Wellbriety Movement January 2018

White Bison was founded in 1988.  Ten years later, the Wellbriety Movement was introduced to Indian Country. White Bison made 5 journeys across the United States, bringing awareness to our communities about being in a time of healing.  We started with a program called the Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps for Men and Women. Over the years, we continued to develop more culturally based trainings that we delivered to communities, which addressed healing for youth, parents, families and others seeking sobriety. The Wellbriety Training Institute was established 20 years later.  As we began to expand our programs throughout the U.S. and Canada, our training team grew to include several elite trainers to meet the growing demand for Wellbriety programs.  In 2017 alone, we trained 1,148 facilitators.    

As we move into a new season in 2018, we are designing a vision for more innovative approaches for enhancing healing and the recovery movement.   

1.       We are expanding the training to include the Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps for the Deaf. The first training will be scheduled for early Fall 2018.

2.       We are piloting a Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps Program for Native Veterans in prison.

3.       We have a grant that will focus on Survivors of Homicide Victims in Native Communities.

4.       We will announce a suicide prevention program called "No More Fallen Feathers".

5.       We will be hosting a series of educational webinars, which include Wellbriety programs and cultural teachings. 

6.       We have expanded our Board of Directors to include members from Canada.

7.       We have expanded our Council of Elders to include Elders from Canada.

8.       We are translating the Elders Meditation book into Spanish.

9.       The meditation app is now available for free download on Android and iPhone.  You can find it in your app store by typing in "White Bison Elders Daily Meditations."

10.   The Store will begin selling books from other authors whose writing supports the Wellbriety Movement.

11.   We have established a Wellbriety Book of the Month Club.

12.  We have provided a space on the website to collect "Red Papers", which are research articles written on Native teachings and cultural approaches.

13.   We are evaluating the possibility of an Annual Wellbriety Addictions School bringing together science and Cultural approaches.

14.   We are working with a law firm on establishing a Wellbriety Movement Foundation that will focus on Social Injustice in our Native Communities. This will be ready around May-June time frame. We will begin implementing various efforts all around “Taking a Stand.” This means we will no longer sit and silently witness social injustices but will take action. 

15.   We will launch a campaign to increase Native votes and encourage our people to run for office


2018 is the time the Wellbriety Movement will advance to its next cycle of growth. White Bison will continue to deliver training and technical assistance to communities.  We must mobilize all our resources, cultural knowledge, programs, skills, insights, ceremony and prayers, uniting across tribes in urban and rural communities in ways we have never done before. We must use the tech­nology and all resources at our disposal. We must create our own cultural logic models, describe cultural congruency, and certify culturally based promising practices to keep advancing the movement. We must include our children and make them part of this change. We are at a point where the Wellbriety Movement is spreading and we will now notice with our eyes and our minds that we are in a time of Healing. 

White Bison Goes to DC

Recently, White Bison had the privilege to attend a networking meeting in Washington, D.C. held by the Office for Victims of Crime, Training and Technical Assistance Center (OVC TTAC) https://www.ovcttac.gov/.  We were invited as part of the grant award that White Bison received, to develop the Survivors of Homicide training program. 

While there, we were able to connect with fellow non-profit organizations that are carrying out remarkable work in their field.  All of the organizations in attendance were recipients of a grant award for projects within the Office for Victims of Crime, and several also represent Native American/Alaska Native communities.  The meeting was a great opportunity to begin collaborating with comparable programs.  We were able to make several valuable connections and hope to exchange resources to strengthen our program.

Many staff members from the OVC TTAC attended, which proved very beneficial.  In the course of several breakout sessions, we were able to connect directly with the staff to ask questions, brain-storm ideas, and get an overall sense of how OVC TTAC grant projects are coordinated.  These sessions provided an opportunity for open discussions between the staff and organization providers on common items of interest dealing with grant projects. 

Opportunities such as these are so valuable for White Bison to not only expand our resources, but to create a stronger awareness for the issues in Native communities.  Stay tuned for further updates as we continue to work on our program development!

Carlos Rivera (Executive Director) and Molly Hepker (Project Coordinator)

Wellbriety Certified Treatment Centers

White Bison, Inc. is a non-profit American Indian 501(c) organization devoted to developing and distributing healing resources to Native America since 1988. White Bison offers sobriety, recovery, addictions prevention, and wellness/Wellbriety learning resources to Native American/Alaska Native community nationwide. Our organization recognizes and encourages sober community activities that celebrate Native American culture and traditions.

Each year Native American, individuals and families seek access to Substance Abuse Residential Treatment for alcohol, drugs, gambling and other addictions in both rural and urban areas. Currently, there are very few Native American specific programs available for treatment, with the exception of a couple well-known culturally specific programs out west. On a weekly basis we receive phone calls from individuals and families hoping to enter the “White Bison residential treatment program”.  At this time, White Bison does not offer inpatient treatment services.


After discussing with our team how we can help as a Wellbriety Movement to meet the needs of our supporters, we came up with Wellbriety Certified Treatment Centers (WCTC). Tribes, individuals and families are seeking the Red Road to Wellbriety treatment approach! We have reached out nationally to partner with culturally specific and non-Native inpatient treatment services that provide beds to tribal people. We have developed a process to certify treatment centers with the Wellbriety Approach. What we have witnessed is that programs that have incorporated the Red Road to Wellbriety approach, have had an increase of referrals due to the collaboration between White Bison and residential programs. Here are our current WCTC to access if you are in need of inpatient treatment: Volunteers of America in Sheridan, Wyoming, New Directions for Women in Costa Mesa, California, Native American Rehabilitation Association in Portland, Organ and Northern Cheyenne Treatment Center in Lame Deer, Montana.


As Tribes move towards building sustainable inpatient treatment services, we hope that you will join White Bison in our initiative to provide Native American Culturally Specific Treatment to Native individuals. You and your organization can help us by becoming a Wellbriety Certified Treatment Center today!


For more information see the attached criteria or feel free to contact White Bison by calling 877-871-1495, or emailing,- info@whitebison.org!

See our criteria in the attachment below:

CertifiedTreatmentCriteria.pdf (439KB)

Introducing White Bison's Newest Training Program

View our Flyer Here:

Training Flyer.docx (904.9KB)

The Wellbriety Movement is continuously striving to extend help and healing to as many Native communities as possible.  We are always looking for ways to implement outlets for healing for Native Americans suffering from social, economic, and personal difficulties.  Recently, White Bison Inc. received a grant through the Office for Victims of Crime with the Department of Justice to implement a new training program that we will be bringing to nine cities in 2018.

  Our program is known as “Self-Help Circles for American Indian and Alaska Native Survivors of Homicide: A Wellbriety Approach.”  Participants will learn the impact of grief and loss in AI/AN communities and the need for healing.  They’ll learn how to implement and market community based self-help circles to offer aid to other community members in the grieving process using culturally appropriate practices.  They’ll also learn how historical trauma creates complexities within the grieving process today. 

Homicide rates in AI/AN communities are twice as high s those in the general population.  Homicide is the third leading cause of death for AI/AN youth (age 15-24) and the second leading cause of death of AI/AN adults.  It is the number one cause of death among AI/AN males. (Heron 2013)  These statistics are alarming and it is White Bison’s goal to address this widespread issue and teach community members how to begin healing from these losses. 

            This two-day comprehensive training program was designed to incorporate culturally relevant themes and strategies for implementing and facilitating self-help circles for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) individuals, families, and communities who have lost friends and family members due to homicide.