Place Category: Specialized Court Projects
- CHUGACHMIUT COOPERATION LLANGARWIK “A PLACE OF AWAKENING” RECOVERY CAMP
- PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
- PLANNING & IMPLEMENTATION
- PROGRAM OUTCOMES
Summary: The Llangarwik Recovery Camp offers a 14-day recovery and wellness camp for people living in the Chugach region of Alaska. The residential program is the first of its kind, offering the camp in rural locations and meeting participants where they are at. It uses a “two-world” approach, combining western and traditional practices, to help participants overcome struggles with alcoholism, chemical dependency and related family issues. Over the 14-days, camp participants receive holistic treatment through programs ranging from one-on-one counseling, group therapy and relapse prevention to understanding historical trauma and the importance of ceremony, and taking part in traditional crafts. Additionally, to encourage a successfully recovery, the program also provides continuing care planning and community activities after the camp comes to an end.
Program Running Length:
October 2017 – present
(970)562 – 4155
Llangarwik(A Place of Awakening) Recovery Camp
1840 Bragaw Street Ste. 110
Anchorage, Alaska 99508
The camp is offered in various rural locations across the Chugach region.
The Chugach region is comprised of 8 rural towns in South Eastern Alaska along the Gulf of Alaska and Prince William Sound. The region is a combination of water, mountains and lush lands, only accessible via boat or small plane.
Approximately two-thirds of the Alaska Native population, for this region, resides in the three larger communities while the remaining one-third resides in the four smaller villages. 2010 Native population estimates (Alaska Natives and American Indians), distributed across the seven Chugach tribes as shown in Table 1. This table is based on population counts for each community as reflected by actual tribal members living within said communities. This number differs from that reported on the Demographics form as that number identifies all tribal members whether or not they live in the community.
b. Table No. 1: Beneficiary Population – Chugach Region 2010 US Census c. Eyak/Cordova d. 344 e. Nanwalek f. 254 g. Port Graham h. 177 i. Qutekcak/Seward j. 617 k. Valdez l. 513 m. Chenega Bay n. 76 o. Tatitlek p. 88 q. Total: r. 1,964
Five of the seven Chugach Region tribes are federally recognized: Eyak, Tatitlek, Chenega Bay, Port Graham and Nanwalek. IRA Councils govern Chenega Bay, Nanwalek and Tatitlek, while Port Graham and the Native Village of Eyak are governed by traditional councils. The tribal governments of the Native communities in Seward and Valdez are the Qutekcak Native Tribe and the Valdez Native Tribe, respectively. Each of the latter two organizations is requesting federal recognition of tribal status.
http://www.commerce.state.ak.us/dca/commdb/CF_COMDB.htm – State of Alaska Community Profiles
The camp was created to address the lack of available, culturally appropriate, addiction and recovery services for Alaska Natives living in more rural regions.Llangarwik works with adults who are living in rural areas and suffering from addiction. It also works with the participant’s family and friends.Between the years of 2005 and 2008, the Port Graham Village Council recognized the need for the extended region to curb drinking and addictions-related crimes, so the community took the initiative and started a recovery camp called “Llangarwik: A Place of Awakening.” Port Graham’s camps were seen as effective, admired and popular. Despite lacking financing and having a very small staff, the camps ran with an average of ten participants per camp for a total of nine successful one-month sessions before losing steam. This camp was incredibly successful in that it helped numerous people get off of alcohol and other substances permanently using traditional means including storytelling, elder wisdom sessions, subsistence activities, drumming, etc. Many of the local people continue their sobriety today as a result of the camp. In 2013, the Behavioral Health Director and the Addictions Coordinator compared notes and determined that, in this part of Alaska, the greatest problems that clients had with recovery was in the months following recovery efforts when constant assistance dropped off. Together, they created the current model of intense initial care followed by two years of continuing contacts.The goal of Llangarwik is to successfully reach and engage Alaska Native adults who are living in more rural areas of Alaska in holistic recovery services grounded in their native traditions. In doing so, they also aim to: provide the tribal courts with additional options for addiction related sentences and diminish suicidal tendencies and other behavioral issues that can often arise as a result of addiction.The Llangarwik camp is a residential 2-week/ 14-day camp that takes places fourtimes a year in Port Graham Alaska. Over the 14-days, camp residents will live and work with the Llangarwik staff as they are introduced to addiction recovery, and starting sobriety using the Matrix Model, an Evidence Basedand other recovery curriculums. One-on-one counseling and group counseling with addiction counselorsare critical parts of the camp, along with learning about the traditional ways, taking part in art therapy and traditional ceremonies and learning how to garden and forage for traditional foods. The participants gain skills in personal growth and learn effective methods to identify stress inducing triggers, how to manage withdrawal and prevent relapse and important coping mechanisms for dealing with behavioral issues. In addition, education on HIV risk reduction, infectious disease and parenting practices are a core part of the camp. Community elders, cultural bearers and camp alum also periodically join the camp as guest speakers, offering additional insight and ways of connecting with the community.
Once the 14-day camp is over, participants return to their villages to continue their recovery. Addiction counselors work with participants to develop after-care plans, keeping them motivatedand on track with their recovery. Camp staff can also refer participants to other services in their communities and will conduct follow-up calls to check-in and see how participants are doing. In addition, camp staff work with the participant’s families, both on-site during the 14-days and afterwards, to help them understand the recovery process and learn ways to support their family member.Llangarwik is overseen by the Chugachmiut Behavioral Health Services. Eydie Flygare, the camp’s Addiction Coordinator, serves at the main contact and coordinates the 14-day curriculum, programs, guest speakers and participants. In addition, Llangarwik uses, among other Behavioral Health staff, a community health educator, a domestic violence coordinator and an Indian Child Welfare coordinator to offer their wide variety of programs. Tribal advocates are also present throughout the planning process and the 14-day camp to engage with participants and teach them the unique traditions of each of each community represented.Eligibility Criteria – Alaska Natives, who struggling with addition and who from
any of the Chugach villages are eligible to take part in the camp.
Referral Process–Any potential participant can call (self-refer) or be referred by a family member, friend, the tribal court, the state court, employer, or any other source. They need to complete a packet and go through psychosocial, legal, and medical background checks.
Supervision and Compliance – During the 14-day camp, participants are closely monitored by program staff and counselors. They are required to take part in the activities, through counseling sessions and individual counseling sessions. They also must work with program staff to complete an after-care plan.
Termination Criteria – Participants are not terminated from the camp unless they pose a clear danger to themselves or others or they continuously disregard program rules around safety and/or sobriety.The Llangarwik Camp received a 3-year funds from the Bureau of Justice Assistance Purpose Area 3 program.Training and technical assistance was not received during the camps development. However, in March of 2019, NAICJA came to Port Graham and offered a training to the tribal councils and tribal courts on Peacekeeping, development of tribal courts, and opioid addictions. This was extremely well received.The camp works withthe tribal courts, tribal councils, law enforcement, and health related services.The strength of the Llangarwik staff and the dedication of their community partners has been key in the success of the program. Everyone who takes part in the camp is wholly committed to their role, believes in what they are doing and truly wants to see the participants succeed. In addition, the alternative format and non-confrontational holistic approach, grounded in the local traditions, makes the camp attractive to a certain subset of participants who may otherwise struggles to succeed in more western judicial settings.The greatest challenges come from the program being still so new that people are not sure what to expect and have some fearfulness of what will happen in camp. We have had an average of half the camps dropping out within a day or two BEFORE camp is due to start. Once they are in, NO ONE has dropped out of the program.The program has learned that the cultural component has been an instrumental part of the success of the program. The clients relate to the Native crafts and the subsistence food gathering in powerful ways.Also, the follow-up with clients helps them to remain steady and committed to sobriety.Since the beginning of the program, it has served a total of 14 participants.Though the program has not gone under a formal evaluation, graduation and continued sobriety of the camp participants show the program’s success and effectiveness.The community has been extremely supportive of the recovery camp. Friends and families of those who have gone through the camp have seen, first hand, the progress these individuals have made.A participant stated “I was indeed going down a bad road at the time, you have created a safe environment so I can talk about my childhood trauma, when I haven’t told anyone about it, I’ll say it once, I’ll say it a million times you’ve changed/saved my life. They gave me tools and made sure I understood the material they gave . I’ve learn how to forgive whoever did wrong in my life and I overall I learned how important I am, how valuable I am, I can’t thank this program enough with how much it changed my life.”Llangarwik informational flyer: http://www.chugachmiut.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Camp-Flyer2.pdf
- CHUGACHMIUT COOPERATION LLANGARWIK “A PLACE OF AWAKENING” RECOVERY CAMP
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