“A victory for the people” – new residential treatment facility opens on Pine Ridge

SWETT, S.D. — The Oglala Sioux Tribe celebrating the opening of a new residential treatment and detox building in western Bennett County.

“It’s a victory for the people – for the people of the Oglala Sioux Tribe – and native people in general in the state of South Dakota and the surrounding regions,” says Michael Brooks, residential detox manager at Anpetu Luta Otipi.

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Anpetu Luta Otipi Director Favian Kennedy speaks to attendees, including Oglala Sioux Tribe President Kevin Killer

The effort was championed by Anpetu Luta Otipi, a comprehensive substance abuse program that provides a variety of behavioral health services across the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Anpetu Luta Otipi combines science and Lakota culture with the goal of reducing drug and alcohol addiction in the native community.

“We also run some of our traditional healing therapies like talking circles…kind of a spiritual talking circle…and we use more western approaches, too,” Brooks says. “But it’s a little bit of a hybrid system.”

Located about four miles north of Swett, the 16,000-square-foot facility can serve 48 patients, with a sweat lodge, gym, and classrooms.

It’s the largest facility of its kind funded by the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance in Indian Country.

Director of Anpetu Luta Otipi, Favian Kennedy, says, “This facility – the sole purpose – is to ease the burden on those individuals so that when they’re ready for treatment, they can be placed.”

Kennedy says they face many challenges, but the number one problem is attracting and retaining certified staff.

They are also hit with misconceptions about what treatment entails, limited resources, and bureaucracy – but are going into 2022 strong with big goals like implementing transitional housing and increasing youth services.

CLICK HERE for more information on Anpetu Luta Otipi, including how to apply for their many open positions.

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