People Back Home (Caleb)

Last week I was given the opportunity to express my needs to a group of elders, lawyers and a judge.

I’m very thankful for that opportunity and am even more grateful for the feeling that my voice was heard and that what I said has value and is essential.

I am sad though that I fear my needs are not able to be met in this environment and system.

I worry about this because I have already sacrificed a lot of my life to addiction and the justice system and the life of a drug addict grows increasingly dangerous. The addiction I struggle with kills hundreds just within British Columbia. And I do not want to die.

To be candid, there are aspects of the drug lifestyle that meet some of my needs - or at least seem to. In reality, though it causes far more severe and deadly problems than it fixes.

The issue in my life is that after spending all of my children and youth searching, I’ve found something that actually helped me to not only feel good but also to be good and act healthily.

Native American Church ceremonies and reconnecting with my Cree heritage has been an absolute blessing. The teaching of my peers and elders help me to see myself from a different perspective.

The ceremonies helped parts of me click into place.

Now I know this is not an overnight, magic remedy. I am not perfect and never will be but there were undeniable results, and I have no doubt that if I am going to be sober, clean and happy that I have to return to my home community and I have to continue on the path. I was shown this when I first knelt down, prayerfully, with my relations. I tried to vocalise this in court. My words were heard, but I believe that when I am asking for is not in the realm of what the court is prepared or permitted to do.

So I am faced with a predicament. Either I go home for the summer and come back and suffer the consequences of my actions or I continue to struggle in a situation where I feel relapse will be the inevitable outcome.

I do not want to continue the cycle, and I want to overdose even less. I understand consequences. And I know that I have a choice. I choose to be the best version of myself. And I’m profound of being who I am.

I want to be a healthy person. I want to be OK. And I believe that I know how to do that. Or, more accurately I believe that I’m capable of learning how to do that. And the path for me lies somewhere in a teepee on the plains of Saskatchewan.

My heritage is strong. It is beautiful, and it is full of wonder. And when I return, I will stand in front of the court, and I will do my best to bring my understanding of the healing power of true reconciliation.


There are people in my immediate circle who are mostly done with putting up with any more of my nonsense. These are people who I love very much, and I miss desperately. And I understand that our relationships depend on me getting and staying clean. I beg these people to be patient and, even more, I ask that if they genuinely want to help in that they help me to get to Native American Church ceremonies, to get home.

I understand that this is difficult to comprehend for some people.

But I have been home. I have sat around Nantawano Iskotewo (Father Fire) with my relations in prayer, and I have felt the Okimew MaskiKy (Chief Medicine) healing the pain I have carried in my heart for as long as I can remember. Its real and it's tangible, and I miss it so much. 

I thank God for this life. I thank God for these teachings. And I thank God that I am still here.

Tapwe! (Very much)

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