Family Stories : Aahminneecha

Aahminneecha, Joseph, & MichaelMy name is Aahminneecha, I am a Native American woman. I grew up on and around reservations in Northern California. Like most reservations its sort of growing up in a 3rd world country. There is still a lot of oppression and depression going on there with limited help and resources. While the epidemic rising of drugs and alcohol. If you where lucky and smart enough to stay close to old way of life where ceremonies and certain rituals helped keep you grounded and kept you connected to what we call “The Red Road” you where better off. I am grateful I was taught some of these old ceremonies and ways of a spiritual life as a young child, for when I grew up and got detoured from my path for a while those ways I believe are what helped find my way again.

Before I got into Family Drug Court my life was completely unmanageable, drugs and alcohol had torn my family apart. I was homeless, my children where not in my care, I was in a very bad domestic violence abuse relationship and I was beginning to lose all hope. My criminal behavior and activities increased as my drug and alcohol habit accelerated it became a part of surviving if you can even call it that. I have over dosed twice just wanting to give up on life and numb my pain permanently.But obviously my higher power had another plan for me, at the time I didn’t quite realize it yet.

When I came to Oregon it was the best decision I have ever made in my life. Coming up here with my two children and a couple of suitcases of clothing. My legal issues also came with me I was soon detained here in Bend Oregon for like 6 months where I finally got enough time to really look at my life and see how I was having a ripple effect on others around me.The ones I cared about hurt the most. I had heard about this program from another young mother incarcerated, so I sat and thought about it for awhile, then finally wrote a letter to Judge Brady asking permission to be in the program.

Since I have been in the program my life and my childrens life has improved drastically. I now have 16 months sober. I was able to receive financial assistance from Deschutes Family Recovery and got into my own place to live with both of my children and they also helped me get some of my utilities turned on. Both my children are doing excellent in school and I’m on the parent policy council with Head Start. I get to be engaged in their education at school as well as at home daily. As a family we do many activities together learning and playing, I’m also able to teach my children about their culture and keep our traditions alive. We have been able to go to different traditional native american ceremonies.

I really believe in this program and appreciate the people who help keep this program going. The money I received from the Deschutes Family Recovery I was able to pay back by doing community service and that was a huge help for I am on a very limited budget, it gave me the chance to give back to the community and meet new people who also want to give back I would like to see the circle continue.