Success Story #1
“I rode the bus home during a December snow storm with all my belongings in a cardboard box. The Red Lodge representative met me the next day and gave me clothes, bought me a bus pass, and helped me get my state ID so I could go to work. I am a welder by trade. It was helpful to have someone who knew where to find resources and how to navigate the system. I am not from the Pacific Northwest, and if it weren’t for my sister, I would have had to live in transitional housing downtown. That would have really stressed this old reservation Indian to the max! Red Lodge helped me out by teaching me how to ride the bus and do job searches on a computer. They took me to Bow and Arrow Culture Club which made me feel at home. I got to sit at the drum and sing with other community members. It’s what helps keep me clean and sober. Having Red Lodge introduce me to folks that are into their culture like I am, was really life-saving. When I stick close to my culture and traditions I am strong and stay out of trouble. I have been off [parole] for 5 years now and I would like to give back by going into the prisons and helping with cultural programming. I know a lot of songs.
I owe so much to Red Lodge helping me through those first few months and making me feel valued. My wife and I just bought our own house two years ago. I love Portland!”
Dave, released in 2008
Success Story #2
“If it weren’t for my beads while I was locked up, I would have gone crazy! If it weren’t for Red Lodge bringing Ceremony into Coffee Creek, and encouraging all us ladies, I don’t think I would have been able to make it through the two years.
When I got out, the space they gave me at the Clean and Sober house that was being subsidized by Community Corrections, was a corner of a double wide garage that had sheets hanging for dividers. I had a single wide mattress on the floor and a small dresser. Trish came down and I started spending time with Red Lodge. It gave me a sense of community and made me feel needed. Slowly my self-esteem began to return and I began the process of digging myself out of the dark hole I had put myself in.
I wish people realized that not everyone with a felony conviction is a bad person! I wish people would stop to listen to my story and the stories of others who have struggles that end them up in prison. Even though things are tough right now, I feel blessed to have been welcomed into the Portland Native American community. It’s a great support system for folks who recognize the struggles that we go through and are serious about maintaining sobriety. I credit Red Lodge for letting me volunteer and meet folks. I love having my grandchildren involved with Bow and Arrow Culture Club. Knowing that the people who work and volunteer for Red Lodge really care about us, and they are not going to judge me for my past, is a huge part of my healing.”
Rayleen, released in 2008