"Yei éek kwa néix, you are going to get well," Kitka said.
"I am honored to be part of such a wonderful group of people with White Bison and the Wellbriety Movement who are working worldwide toward healthy lifestyles for our children and grandchildren."
Kitka is a drug and alcohol treatment specialist with SEARHC's Gunaanast? Bill Brady Healing Center and Deilée H?t Safe Harbor House. She also served as project chairwoman for the Kootéeyaa Project Wellbriety totem pole, which has the Tlingit name "Yei éek kwa néix ("you are going to get well") and was raised Oct. 14 in front of the SEARHC Community Health Services building in Sitka.
The Kootéeyaa pole celebrates healing, and the carving and pole-raising process involved hundreds of community members.
At the pole-raising celebration, SEARHC President/CEO Ken Brewer presented Kitka with the President's Gumboot Award (SEARHC's highest award) "for your unwavering commitment to the Kootéeyaa Project."
White Bison, Inc., is an American Indian nonprofit based in Colorado Springs, Colo., that serves as facilitator for the national Wellbriety Movement.
Wellbriety means to be sober and well, and the Wellbriety Movement uses a Native journey to healing for the total person - a journey that links physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health.
The award reads, "Recognizing those who have dedicated their life to ensuring a path for the wellness of others. We honor your lifelong dedication to helping others in recovery and wellness. Your commitment has touched so many lives and your support of the Wellbriety Movement will never be forgotten." White Bison President Don Coyhis signed the award.