A recovery home that opened in Bangor on Monday will help Indigenous men with substance use disorder as they seek to rehabilitate and transition. Male members of Maine’s Wabanaki tribes will be able to live at the Opportunity House at 123 Essex St. beginning around mid-May, pending the issuance of an occupancy permit from the city of Bangor, Wabanaki Healing and Recovery Interim Director Lisa Sockasbasin said. Seven people will be able to stay in the fully furnished building at one time.
The project has been years in the making, led by Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness with input from American Indigenous organizations and tribes across the state. The home will serve members of the five federally recognized tribes in Maine: the Penobscot Nation, Houlton Band of Maliseets, the Passamaquoddy tribes at Indian Township and Pleasant Point, and the Aroostook Band of Micmacs.
Native Americans suffer from one of the highest rates of substance use disorder, including alcoholism and addiction to other illicit drugs, of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. A survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that about 10 percent of Native American adults had a substance use disorder compared to about 8 percent for all American adults.
Maulian Dana, tribal ambassador for the Penobscot Nation, tied those historic issues with the oppression Native groups have long faced in the United States, ranging from being forced off their land by European settlers to the cultural destruction caused by forced attendance in boarding schools that discouraged Native customs.
“The intergenerational trauma, the historic oppression of our people, can be overwhelming,” Dana said. “And it really leads to those unhealthy behaviors and cycles of dysfunction.”
Read more at BangorDailyNews.com.