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New Spirit Center director named in W.E.

Jill Hewitt, M.S., L.M.F.T., has been hired by the White Earth RTC to be the director of the new Oshki Manidoo (New Spirit) Center in Bemidji.

"This project is of great importance and opportunity for youth and I am honored to be part of it," said Hewitt. "I feel strongly that the Oshki Manidoo Center will not only benefit youth, but also the community as a whole. Youth need roots and wings and I am committed to helping them strengthen both."

White Earth Chairwoman Erma J. Vizenor said studies show that up to 47 percent of youth in Minnesota corrections systems are Indians, although Indians make up less than 2 percent of the state population overall.

"We will provide culturally specific chemical dependency and mental health treatment services with the goal of strengthening individuals, families and communities," said Hewitt.

Hewitt has more than 20 years experience of providing mental health and chemical health wellness services to children and families in both outpatient and residential settings.

She will begin her duties in mid-August and one of her first orders of business is to conduct focus groups in surrounding tribal and non-tribal communities to get feedback on the Oshki Manidoo Center.

"We all need to work together and share inputs so we can provide the very best benefits and services possible for our youth," said Hewitt.

The Center is expected to open sometime this fall.