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New family healing center coming to Lodge Grass

Misti Toineeta, director of drop-in center for Lodge Grass
Posted at 4:41 PM, May 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-20 18:50:37-04

LODGE GRASS — It may be hard to envision now but a first-of-its-kind family healing center will soon be built in Lodge Grass. It will be a place where members of the Crow Tribe can go to get all sorts of healing without leaving the community.

There are a few things more difficult than addiction. Misti Toineeta, the director of the drop-in center in Lodge grass, knows that all too well. She says for her it began after she was given up by her mother.

"Raised by my grandmother, I was not raised by my parents," says Toineeta.

Toineeta struggled with abandonment issues. Then at just 16, she had her first child and addiction took hold.

"So I fell into addiction for about 25 years, but I came out of it. Me, my husband, and five kids all went to a program to get better. It took about 5 years to get stable enough to come back," said Toineeta.

Toineeta is now 7 years into sobriety and still going strong. She's now giving back to others battling addiction.

She is now a peer support specialist with Mountain Shadow, the non-profit organization building a family healing center in Lodge Grass.

A first of its kind in Montana, the facility will not only help those battling addiction. Staff will also teach parenting skills.

According to Mountain Shadow, Native American children are 70 percent more likely to be placed in foster care than non-natives. Also, 50 percent of all children in Lodge Grass are raised by their grandparents.

"You know what we really wanted for families was a healthy ecosystem," says Megkian Doyle, the executive director for Mountain Shadow.

Compounding the problem is a community employment rate of 89 percent.

"When families come to the family healing center there will be a lot of different things for them to experience. The family healing center is not a substance use treatment center it is a trauma treatment center, so we want to move a step upstream," says Doyle.

A step upstream as this community unites around several big problems that are tearing many families apart.