At our recent Fun Day Carnival, for the first time ever, a crew of 5 work release prisoners were assigned to help our group. They were putting up huge tents, lifting over a thousand pounds worth of food and supplies, unloading trailers and equipment (in the brutal 95 degree sun)...whatever we needed, they were there to help. They interacted with our group, had their Chiropractic adjustments and even wore our official Fun Day tee shirts.
Some of the prisoners remarked they felt ‘high’ or lighter as a result of their adjustments and being with our group. They also spoke about how our group did not care they were prisoners and welcomed them into our family with open arms. Directly helping the kids made them feel like their lives had purpose and meaning. It was like a new beginning, a rebirth for many of these inmates.
The jail on the reservation has a visionary warden by the name of Ron Jackson who sees hope and promise for all of his prisoners. He has a pilot program that allows the prisoners to do overnight trips to Native American ceremonies like sweat lodges, smudging, and pow wows. The night after the Fun Days were concluded, they attended a sweat lodge, stayed out overnight from the jail and, upon returning to the jail, someone (perhaps one of the guards?) said that a couple of them looked ‘high’. The warden’s heart sank as he had them tested, knowing that his program would be terminated if they tested positive. But guess what? They all came back 100% clean!
Bringing health, hope and dignity back to the kids on the Fort Peck Reservation is not reserved only for the kids. It includes everyone. We are all one people. We are all connected. These work release prisoners were part of our Fun Day. They were not separate or removed from it. They were part of our LHNC community.
Some of the prisoners had never received a Chiropractic adjustment or experienced the type of kindness bestowed on the kids at the 2 Fun Day carnivals. Many of them had been incarcerated for substance or alcohol abuse. Anyone reading this, who had lived under the constant assault of 3rd world conditions for over 500 years in the land of the supposed free, would seek the same relief from their suffering.
You just never know what type of an effect you will have on people when you share the gift of kindness. This is the vision of LHNC. If those prisoners had been exposed to the kindness of our past Fun Days, the Chiropractic adjustments, the Christmas on the Reservations (250,000 gifts and counting), the new synthetic basketball court that we installed, the high-quality food that was donated, and the unlimited doses of love given by a crazy, fun loving group of humanitarians, maybe they would have made different choices.
With the help of a few more hundred humanitarians, how far can we go to restore the health, hope and dignity of all Native Americans? Margaret Mead once said “Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” For those of you who are already involved with LHNC: it’s almost time to get ready for Christmas on the Reservation. And if you’re not involved, we invite you to do so. Remember, we gladly accept donations YEAR ROUND!