Why Native Americans will walk for sobriety in Richmond this Saturday

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Why Native Americans will walk for sobriety in Richmond this Saturday
Mike Kinney (left) and wife Kay Kay Kinney
 

By Mike Kinney

As the chairperson for United Urban Warrior Society of Central California (U.U.W.S.), a National Native American organization devoted to more human and civil rights for Native people, many in Richmond have asked me why U.U.W.S. will have a Native American Walk for Sobriety on Saturday, July 14.

I share that mass extermination and ethnic cleansing of Native Americans over centuries has Indian Country’ suffering from historic trauma. And for many of us, unresolved grief has led to alcoholism.

To raise awareness about this issue, on Saturday, July 14, U.U.W.S. and Richmond’s Native community will host a walk at 11 a.m. from the Grocery Outlet parking lot (San Pablo Avenue and Macdonald Avenue) down to Nichol Park, then onward to the Native Wellness Center at 25th Street and Macdonald Ave.

RELATED: 4th Annual Native American Walk for Sobriety set for July 14

“Alcoholism is a problem for us, and as long as all of this liquor is lying about, it won’t get better,” said Lakota Holy Man John Fire Lame Deer. “I have often thought about the special effect liquor has on us Indians. In 200 hundred years, we still haven’t learned how to handle it. It’s just like the measles and other diseases the white man brought us. The illness was the same for them as for us, but we died from it.”

Many Native people, families and communities are now forming organizations to deal with the issues of alcoholism and alcohol abuse, such as ‘Walking the Good Red Road’ and ‘Wellbriety.’

The return to our traditional spiritual beliefs and values helps us to lead lives free of alcohol, and Native Sobriety walks are crucial in raising awareness surrounding the issues of alcoholism and alcohol abuse in the Native communities.

Native Americans have historically had extreme difficulty with the use of alcohol. Problems continue among contemporary Native Americans.

The most important goal of the Native Walk for Sobriety is the ideas of self-empowerment, self-worth and self-esteem. We in the Native Community know how important it is for we as Native People to set positive and spiritual examples to our high-risk teens and young adults.

Disclosure: Mike Kinney is a regular writer and reporter for the Richmond Standard

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