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Holistic virtual conference aims to educate how to incorporate culture into treatment options

Phyllis Spears
Acudetox session, Phyllis Spears (Cherokee) pictured here. There is a session at the virtual conference about acudetox acupuncture integration in the criminal justice system.

Indigenous people are overrepresented in prisons and jails. Holistic practitioners across the Mountain West are interested in incorporating culture to decrease reoffending rates. A virtual conference aims to educate those who work in criminal justice and behavior health on how to effectively incorporate culture into treatment options.

Phyllis Spears is Cherokee and has been a nurse for 40 years. She now works in acupuncture. She wants to help educate detention centers on how to best care for repeat offenders.

“This conference, I hope, helps them to look at a different way to do it, than the way that's been done in the past,” Spears said while explaining the importance of holistic medicines.

Chuck Pyle put the conference together and was a U.S. magistrate judge in Arizona. He said that there will be Indigenous speakers from many different parts of the criminal justice system.

“We're going to have some traditional dancers who are going to talk about, some of the challenges they've had in their life and that reconnected them with their ancestors and help them kind of get back on track,” he said

The free virtual conference will be May 17th through 18th and will be available online.

Taylar Dawn Stagner is a central Wyoming rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has degrees in American Studies, a discipline that interrogates the history and culture of America. She was a Native American Journalist Association Fellow in 2019, and won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her Modern West podcast episode about drag queens in rural spaces in 2021. Stagner is Arapaho and Shoshone.
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