The Anishnaabek Healing Circle

Digital Stories

Digital StoriesWhat are digital stories?

The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan (ITC), Anishnaabek Healing Circle Sowing the Seeds of Recovery collection includes of over fifty first-person recovery stories, 3-5 minutes in length, told by the indigenous people of Michigan using our voices.  Story telling is a powerful tool for healing; people who have watched the stories describe the experience as transformative.  We collected the stories with the purpose of engaging and educating tribal communities about the healing journey of recovery from addiction.  The stories bring a message of hope and healing.  All of the storytellers have consented to sharing their story on this web site for educational purposes.


The stories are an excellent tool that can be used in a variety of settings: as an educational presentation at a workshop; at a community event; as a recovery support group activity or in a local tribal film fest.  The stories can be used in an individual counseling session; they can also be viewed at home, alone or with family and friends. The stories are also appropriate for use by a variety of professionals such as health educators, substance abuse counselors, social workers, educators, etc.  They are very effective when used by peers and community members in all stages of recovery. These short stories help participants see themselves through the people or situations in the story.

Facilitator Manual

Sowing the Seeds of Recovery

This video tells Chris's Journey with alcohol and drugs like heroin.  He was in the army and then lived in highly populated urban communities.  His recovery and growth occurred from attending treatment, attending AA and utilizing his traditional spirituality.  He received his Indian name and attends pow-wows.

In this video, Stephanie describes being abandoned at 2-weeks old and to be raised by her Grandmother for five years.  She describes the discrimination and prejudice that existed in the 1950's that was a prevalent part of her life.  She shares her struggles with alcohol and two failed marriages.  She finds her sobriety with AA and acquires two masters' degrees.  She finds her traditional spirituality and walks the red road every day.


This video is Terri's journey with her gift of songs and being given a red cedar dugout canoe to take care of.  She shares her commitment to Native traditional ways as a non-native woman walking a path of healing.  She speaks of the responsibility to seven generations.

This video shares JoAnne's journey of living in an alcoholic home and the abuse that resulted from usage.  This behavior then resulted in the children being removed from a home and placed in foster care.  She highlights the importance of her spirituality, blended family and traditional ceremonies in her healing process and the choices we all have to opportunity to make.


This video tells Barbar's journey with alcohol/drugs, death, and loss.  In an alcohol black-out Barbara shares, she shot a police officer and ended up with a sentence of 20 years in prison.  In prison, she uses the educational opportunities to change her life around to prepare her for the day she is released from prison.

This video tells Arlene's journey to overcome illness, the gift of recovery from alcohol and her family story.  She uses her traditional culture and attaining an education to guide her successfully to her goal of attaining her MSN at the age of 60.


This video begins with Martha's narration about her mother's challenging childhood in the boarding schools.  She shares her own childhood experiences of isolation and discrimination while attending school as a child.  She describes her journey with alcohol, living with anger and feeling spiritually bankrupt.  It was during a Talking Circle that her healing began.  She realized her mother's story had become her own story.

This video portrays Linda's childhood challenges and the important role of her Grandmother.  She shares her journey with alcoholism, especially during her years in the Armed Services.  She addressed the importance of AA in attaining and maintaining her sobriety.  She is currently involved in her traditional ways of dancing at pow-wows to give herself the strength and ongoing hope in her sobriety.


This video utilizes her own poem regarding Sacred Water to stress the importance of our spirituality and important teachings regarding our women.  Eva addresses the intergenerational effects of the boarding school within her own family.  She shares her journey with addiction and her successful sobriety utilizing her traditional ceremonies and strong family values.

In this video, Arlene tells her story of being raised in an alcoholic, abusive home and being placed in numerous foster homes at the age of 10 until 18.  She shares her values of attaining an education and her journey of finding her cultural and spiritual identify as an Odawa woman.


This video tells of Ambrose's journey of 16 years of drinking, losing jobs, being homeless, spending time in jail and surviving five car accidents to hit his bottom.  He speaks of his journey to sobriety by following the Red Road with his traditional beliefs and being a single dad to his pride and joy, his son.  Today, he has been in recovery for 24 years and has awakened to a new beginning in life as an artist.

In this video Tony tells his story of beginning to drink alcohol at the age of nine due to his abuse at the Catholic Elementary school as a teenager being abused sexually, physically and emotionally by family and friends.  Tony speaks of his journey in the Navy, being a father and his spiritual awakening to sobriety through AA.  He shares how his sobriety led him to his traditional spirituality of ceremonies, the Pipe, and pow-wows.


In this video, Janice shares her journey of grief and loss for her two grandmothers and her best friend at an early age.  During her adult years, she moves to numerous big cities and then back home to the rez t live.  She describes her marriage as one of chaos, drinking and fighting with her ultimate loss in the death of her children. She shares her struggle with depression, alcohol, gambling and overeating to cope. She finds sobriety and herself with the guidance from OAHOW, her traditional ceremonies, dancing, and singing with the Four Thunders drum.

In this video, Marty shares his challenging childhood journey of being removed from the home, being placed in a Catholic Boarding School and the numerous relocations between relatives on the rez and relatives in the cities.  He describes his introduction to alcohol, being chronic at the age of 16 and the tough relapse journey to find his sobriety.  Marty shares the importance of dancing, drumming and singing at pow wows held for him as a young person and how he found his way back to his traditional culture as a sober adult with a family.


In this video Donny talks about his journey with alcoholism, drugs, physical altercations, incarcerations and divorce.  He shares the loss of his mom who was his primary connection with his traditional culture.   After numerous relapses, he has a spiritual awakening through singing, dancing and attending ceremonies which put him on his road to sobriety.  Today, in sobriety, he speaks of the many gifts he has received, especially his children, grandchildren and relationships with his sober siblings.

This video is Jerry’s 20-year journey with his new best friend – alcohol -- which began at the age of 14.  He shares how alcohol affected his personal relationships and how, as a “functional drunk,” he kept his jobs and completed his higher education goals.   Jerry describes coming full circle in his sobriety to having a family, a job and singing with The Four Thunders drum at pow-wows.


In this video Carrie shares her insight and journey with being born an intergenerational alcoholic and addict.  Her life of addiction becomes a circular path of numerous relapses after treatment and incarcerations.   An IV drug user, she prays in a jail cell for help from her ancestors for their strength and direction.  She finally surrenders her will to walk a journey of honesty in her sobriety and to care for her four children.  She begins a journey to find her greatness within.

In this video Donald shares his experiences of growing up in an alcoholic home and the challenges of growing up Indian in an urban community.  He takes us on his 20-year journey of drunkenness, violence and guilt with alcohol and drugs that began at the age of 14.  As an adult his 9th DWI guides him to AA to begin his 23-year walk with sobriety


In this video, Tim shares the challenges the growing up in an alcohol using family and knowing he was Indian, but living in an era when one didn't openly admit it.  Tim talks about his eight years of abuse in the Catholic school system and his 25-year walk with alcohol.  His son's invitation to come sit on the drum with him began his walk with sobriety and traditions; as his son also added: " Dad, to be involved with this traditional have to be sober."

In this video Robert shares his adolescent journey with alcohol and drugs and the effects using had on his family life.   He talks about the loss he felt when his father chose to leave their home and how his own using increased when his father returned.   Robert shares how his school project on “The Drum” began his journey to sobriety and addressing his undiagnosed bi-polar issues.  Today, he walks the Red Road, singing and dancing in his sobriety.


In this video, R.D. shares his challenging journey of dependency with alcohol and drugs, incurring numerous treatments and relapses.  He speaks honestly of being homeless, jobless and incarcerated as the result of using.  He shares the detrimental effect using had on his family, and especially on his son.  R.D. shares how he found long lasting sobriety…one day at a time.

In this video R.D. openly speaks of his gambling addiction after 23 years of sobriety and being a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor.  He addresses the risk of cross addiction for anyone with a previous addiction.   He shares his gambling preoccupation and powerlessness that took him away from his family, the drum and ceremonies and ultimately, the courage he found to seek help.




Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan
2956 Ashmun, Suite A
Sault Ste. Marie, MI   49783

Phone: (906) 632-6896