A bashful Native American who thwarted death twice summoned his inner warrior during a summer powwow, dressed in purple regalia and long feathers.
Jasten “Jazz” Bears Tail, 36, immersed himself in the movement, a style called fancy dancing, at the event in the North Dakota town of Parshall on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. He stomped and twirled in sync with the pounding of the drums, symbolizing the heartbeat of his ancestors.
On the periphery, his 11-year-old son, Pistol Bears Tail, proudly watched his father’s comeback. Jazz disappeared from competitions a couple of years ago while battling his addiction.
The disease, which also afflicted his father, nearly killed him twice, wrecked his marriage, pulled him from his children and shredded his confidence.
“With us natives, when we’re impure and out doing stuff we’re not supposed to do, our spirit leaves us,” he said.
“There’s no life in you, no glimmer of hope in your eye. You’re pretty much a lost soul just roaming around.”
The Fort Berthold-based MHA Nation — members of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes — paid to build the residential recovery center and its transitional living facility, which use a culturally competent model that incorporates tradition and customs to help people heal.
A growing number of residents have sought treatment in this community, which has been inundated by drugs largely supplied by Mexican cartels that are flooding the U.S. every year with thousands of kilos of methamphetamines, Heroin