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Tribal Healing Program

Tribal Healing At Puget Sound

The Tribal Healing program at Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound Tribal Healing implements Wellbriety’s White Bison-certified cultural education initiatives that illustrate the origins and influencing factors of Native American substance use as a means of drug and alcohol addiction prevention.

Our staff of Tribal Addiction Specialists provide alcohol/drug abuse assessments, co-occurring disorder evaluations, diagnoses, and individualized treatment to each guest. We at Puget Sound strive to generate and promote positive culturally-based social adjustments that benefit our guest’s relationships within themselves, their families, and their communities.

Within Tribal Healing, we reintegrate Native cultural practices and customs utilizing guest involvement and collaboration, participation in tribal ceremonies and events, and educational courses to promote healing and growth from within.

Puget Sound’s Tribal Healing focuses on the holistic recovery of our tribal guests through the fusion of traditional, evidence-based treatment practices with traditional Native American philosophies and customs. Within the Medicine Wheel & 12 Steps, our staff of tribal specialists educate our guests on prevention, preparation, and harm reduction tactics regarding alcohol and drug addiction within the scope of Native practices. Additionally, our staff review the historical trauma inflicted on native peoples following the introduction to European settlers, offering practical and positive coping skills to aid in their healing from intergenerational trauma.

We at Royal Life Centers are proud to be one of ten Wellbriety certified substance abuse treatment centers as it affords us the opportunity to honor the centuries-old traditions of holistic healing for any and all tribal members in need of SUD treatment.

The Opportunity To Heal

Native American addiction treatment should be founded on culture, tradition, and values in addition to evidence-based practices. The essence of Native American culture—the spiritual ideology of interconnectedness— is what enabled the healthy, harmonious existence of tribal communities prior to the introduction of European settlers who attempted to indoctrinate Native people and erase their peaceful ways of life. To revitalize this culture of unity and oneness with the Earth, we at Royal Life Centers work with our guests to reconnect their spirit to all things around them, bringing them clarity and wholeness alongside their sobriety.

Our dedication to providing compassionate care those who seek our help is extended to reach tribal members who deserve a full opportunity to experience a life of sobriety built on their cultural beliefs and foundation of values.

Wellbriety-Certified Treatment

The Wellbriety Movement was formed as a way to fill the gap in Native American healthcare, providing culturally-based healing for current and future generations of Indigenous people. With its foundation on the Native American Medicine Wheel, the Wellbriety Movement has been proven to be an effective approach to helping those in need. It’s a self-empowerment model that combines traditional healing practices with modern recovery techniques, providing culturally specific services tailored to each individual and their unique needs.

Royal Life Centers at Puget Sound is proud to be a part of this movement and its mission. We offer a variety of services based on the Wellbriety model, which helps us provide quality care for those in our communities suffering from addiction, trauma, mental health issues, and other life challenges. By incorporating traditional healing approaches with modern recovery methods, we’re committed to helping individuals find their way back to health and wellness. We look forward to working with you on your road to recovery and providing the support needed to succeed.

Wellbriety Teachings

Wellbriety teachings aim to revitalize the traditional tribal principles, values, and teachings to restore the strong foundation of health and interconnectedness amongst Native American communities. In doing so, the movement aspires to promote holistic tribal healing of alcohol abuse, substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders, and the aftereffects of intergenerational trauma.

In order to pass on their wisdom, Wellbriety trains addiction treatment professionals in Native American teachings so that they may pass on the healing benefits to those in need of spiritual recovery. This includes incorporating traditional ceremonies, stories, and other practices to provide a culturally appropriate form of recovery that honors the values of tribal communities. Wellbriety also promotes education about Native American culture and provides resources to help people reconnect with their Indigenous identity. 

Traditional Customs

Cultural Allegories

Female-Focused Motivations

White Bison-Trained Staff

White Bison is the Wellbriety Movement’s internationally recognized training institute that provides education and certifications for Wellbriety’s culturally-based healing curriculum to substance use treatment programs and grassroots activists. White Bison embodies the Wellbriety Movement, striving to spread awareness and native-based education to reconnect indigenous people to the traditions and customs that allowed their ancestors to flourish and coexist in nature, their communities, and as individuals.

White Bison Training Programs:

As a center of excellence, White Bison offers tribal healing training in addition to necessary tools and resources that promote sustainable and beneficial growth within Native American Communities.  

Our Tribal Healing Curriculum

Traditional Healing for Tribal Members

Native American Healing Practices

The Medicine Wheel • The Four Directions • Mending Broken Hearts • Warrior Down • Red Road To Wellbriety

Tribal Ceremonies

Wiping Tears Ceremony • Sweat Lodge Ceremony

Native Traditions

Smudging • Beadwork • Drum Making • Drum Circles • Native Food and Medicine

Our Tribal Healing Services

The Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel is a physical representation of the Native American beliefs of universal interconnectedness.

The Four Directions

The Four Directions (often North, South, East and West) symbolize traditional Native American elements.

Mending Broken Hearts

Mending Broken Hearts teaches about the generational trauma from the historical abuse put on Native Americans.

Warrior Down

Warrior Down is our continuum of care to ease the transition from our program to a tribe’s sober support system.

The Red Road To Wellbriety

The Red Road to Wellbriety is the 12-Steps infused with Native American culture.

Wiping Tears Ceremony

The Wiping of the Tears ceremony calls upon the spirits to help heal your pain.


Smudging rituals purify the body, aura, and energy of ceremonial or personal space within the “smoke bath.”

Drum Making

Drum making engages the centuries-old custom of forging a physical representation of Native culture and celebration.

Sweat Lodge

A sweat lodge is a Native American tradition in which an individual enters a dome-sauna-like environment for healing.

Drum Circle

Drum circles are carried out on booming powwow drums, or community drums, keeping the beat in Native songs.


Beadwork is a decorative art form used by Native American’s garnish functional goods such as clothing, dwellings, and horse gear.

Traditional Gardening

Traditional Gardening blends Native naturopathic healing with evidence-based practices to promote holistic growth.

Native American Healing Practices

During our Native American Program, our White Bison-certified group facilitators pass on these teachings in a residential setting. Our guests learn how to use the Medicine Wheel, its symbols and teachings, to heal from addiction and work through personal issues. 

We acknowledge that no two cultures or people are alike in their understanding of the namesake symbol. However, we can all benefit from turning inward, learning about ourselves, and listening for Nature’s wisdom— especially during our guest’s time in treatment. 

Medicine Wheel and 12-Step Program

The Medicine Wheel and 12-Step program is a Wellbriety-certified course that focuses on helping native communities heal from the pain, hurt, violence, suicide, and the impact of addiction. In doing so, it provides culturally-based treatment services within the 12-step approach.

This adjusted 12-step program is based on teachings of the medicine wheel, the cycle of life, the Four Laws of Change, and ceremonial practice. Including culture, tradition, and values into this 12-step approach proves to be the missing piece for many tribal members who need more of a tailored approach to a traditional 12-step program of recovery.

Finding Meaning in Rehab With The Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel is a sacred Native American symbol that represents healing and health. Also known as the Sacred Hoop, it is a physical representation of the Native American ideology of universal interconnectedness. For generations, tribes have adopted the wheel’s mentality for physical, emotional, and spiritual connection. Often, the Medicine Wheel is regarded as a representation of all knowledge of the universe, a true symbol of hope and healing— for those who seek it.

Physical representations of the Medicine Wheel provide a sacred ground on which Native American ceremonies take place. Medicine Wheel rituals align the forces of Nature, such as gravity and the rising and setting of the Sun. To restore the natural balance, these events mirror the Medicine Wheel itself, moving in a clockwise, or sunset-wise, direction.

The Four Directions of Native American Healing

The Medicine Wheel embodies the Four Directions, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree, which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life. Depictions of the Medicine Wheel have been found in works of art such as artifacts and paintings in addition to large-scale physical constructions on the land. Over the last several centuries, thousands of these Wheels have been built on Native lands in North America.

The Medicine Wheel’s symbolism can vary from tribe to tribe, as it is up to their interpretation. The Medicine Wheel has four directions: north, east, south, and west. Each of these directions is a marker for many other attributes of that section of the Medicine Wheel.

Elements of The Four Directions:

  • Stages of Life: Birth, Youth, Adult, Death
  • Holistic Health Aspects: Mental, Emotional, Physical, Spiritual
  • Natural Elements: Water, Air, Earth, Fire
  • Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
  • Animals: Eagle, Bear, Wolf, Buffalo, &c.
  • Ceremonial Plants: Sage, Sweetgrass, Cedar, Tobacco

While interpretations of the Medicine Wheel differ from tribe to tribe, the Four Directions (North, South, East, and West) are typically assigned a distinct color [black, red, yellow, and white], which represents the human race.

The Medicine Wheel speaks to the interconnectedness of all things. It teaches us that we are part of a greater whole; what happens here affects everyone else whether we have direct contact or not. This understanding is essential for a successful recovery journey, as it reminds us to take responsibility and accountability for our actions— both in sobriety and in life. 

Mending Broken Hearts

Mending Broken Hearts is a course through Wellbriety’s White Bison training course. Mending Broken Hearts focuses on an approach to addressing intergenerational trauma for the purpose of healing. Mending Broken Hearts teaches about the trauma from stripping away the culture, interconnectedness, elders’ teachings, spirituality, language, values and ceremonies from Native Americans. Historically, this trauma occurred generations ago, as a consequence of mission and boarding schools that the Native American youth were forced into. This shift resulted in trauma— the taking away of an identity, values, having native languages silenced, even sexual and physical abuse.

The pain from this trauma is still felt, seven generations later. We are committed to breaking this cycle. Some of the biggest roadblocks to addiction treatment for Native Americans are addressing this intergenerational trauma, the generations of substance abuse and addiction, generations of shame, and generations of abuse. We use the knowledge from this training to address the very real and ever-present root emotions of anger, guilt, shame, and fear— so that our guests can make room for healing.

Warrior Down

Warrior Down is White Bison’s relapse and recidivism prevention program. The Warrior Down program provides structure through relapse prevention techniques and recovery support for tribal members that have graduated our treatment program and are returning home to their tribal communities. Warrior Down offers a continuum of care for our Native American guests, smoothing the transition from treatment to their tribal communities through our collaboration and preparation with their tribe’s sober support systems.

Royal’s Tribal Healing program recognizes the importance of Warrior Down as it acts as a preventative measure against recidivism through a built-in sober support system— a vital part of recovery maintenance for individuals navigating early sobriety. As our guests reintegrate into their communities, they are guided through a sustained support network that doubles as a response team. Within this response team, our warrior graduates are given resources through this peer-to-peer program that equip them with the wisdom of fellow tribal members in recovery.

The Red Road To Wellbriety

The Native American wellness and recovery book,  The Red Road To Wellbriety: In the Native American Way, is Wellbriety’s literary resource written by tribal members and for tribal members. This book a culturally-based wisdom provides a Native American perspective on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Borrowing from AA’s “Big Book,” The Red Road To Recovery utilizes the 12-step format to jumpstart the recovery of tribal members. On the other hand, instead of a checklist to be completed, Wellbriety’s sober guide looks at the steps through the lens of the Medicine Wheel’s circle teachings. In essence, Red Road integrates the traditional principles of AA within the centuries-old traditions of Native American ancestors as a way to teach tribal guests cultural information about healing from substance use disorders.

During a guest’s time in Puget Sound’s Tribal Healing program, they are provided a copy of The Red Road To Wellbriety as a recovery resource to guide them on their journey to long-lasting recovery. Wellbriety’s recovery literature can also be purchased through Wellbriety’s website for all those who would like to review its wisdom.

Tribal Healers at Royal Life Centers

Marci Johns-Colson

Born into the Skokomish Tribal Nation, Twana Native Marci Johns-Colson assists in the healing of our program’s tribal guests. As a niece of Washington’s state-appointed National Treasure and keeper of the Skokomish tribe’s traditions, Bruce Subiyay Miller, Marci grew up engrossed in the teachings of the Tree people.

She passes down the wisdom of Native Americans through our Traditional Gardening curriculum. Through the interactive course, Marci educates our guests on tribal food traditions including the First Foods Gathering as well as culturally prevalent natural-pathic plant medicines to encourage tribal healing.

Willie Wolfe

For over five decades, Willie has dedicated his time to the betterment of Native American wellness and healing. He has helped numerous tribes, nonprofit Native American organizations, government agencies and the private sector in becoming more effective and efficient through his company, Red Road Leadership Consulting (RRLC). As a renowned peacemaker among the tribal healing community, Willie Wolfe acted as a master trainer for the Wellbriety movement in the 1980s, mentoring a new generation of Firestarters in the ways of native-based alcohol and drug treatment. In essence, Willie passed down the spark of passion in Native traditions to help ignite the fire within tribal members. As a Wellbriety trainer, Wille Wolfe offered his wisdom and experience in hopes of bringing wellness and sobriety to fellow Native Americans. Willie brings his expertise in Tribal Healing through the culturally responsive training he perfected through RRLC to our Tribal Healing programs in Washington State.

Having worked with the Lummi Nation, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Navaho Nation, Eastern Shoshone Tribe, and Lac Du Flambeau, Willie Wolfe gained experience with a variety of unique Native American tribes. For this reason, Willie is proficient in identifying and empathizing with distinct tribal concerns while providing personalized and community-based healing for our tribal guests. Wille’s extensive background in mentoring assists our guests through educational mending of their Native American heritage through our Tribal Healing program.

Reach Out To Join Our Tribal Healing Program

Royal Life Centers is in-network with Shasta Insurance and the Healthcare Management Administration (HMA). We also have a collaborative relationship with IHS (Indian Health Services) and are fully willing to work with other insurance providers in order to get you into our Tribal Healing program for treatment. Should our admissions team find that your insurance plan is out of network we will work relentlessly on your behalf to come to an agreement with your provider.

Joining Royal Life Centers’ Tribal Program

You can also expedite the admissions process by filling out the form below, which directly sends your information to our admissions department. In doing so, we will expedite the verification of your insurance so that we can start your entrance into our treatment program.

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