Ponca Tribe Gets Grant for Treatment Center
November 20, 1990
An Indian tribe critical of a 75-bed substance abuse center in Kay County has received a $275,000 federal grant to build a new 26-bed alcohol and drug treatment facility.
Delbert Cole, chairman of the Ponca tribe's business committee, said his tribe's objections to Narconon International's rehabilitation center north of Newkirk have nothing to do with competition for potential patients.
The Ponca facility is for Indians only, while Narconon International's center, located on the grounds of the old Chilocco Indian school, is open to all, Cole said.
Cole said the Ponca tribe, which has operated a substance abuse center for almost 20 years, is upset with Narconon Chilocco New Life Center because it has failed to live up to its lease agreement to adhere to all state, federal and Indian laws.
"We just don't trust Narconon as they are," Cole said. "If it was a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, and that's it, we have no problems with that.
"But they're affiliated with the Church of Scientology," he said.
Narconon officials have denied that claim.
Cole said "If this was a recognized religion there would be no problem. But this is not a religion. It's a cult based on one man's teachings and that's L. Ron Hubbard."
Narconon Chilocco is not licensed by the state nor is its program certified by the state.
The facility has been accepting patients for several months and postponed applying for state certification until after state health officials filed papers in court seeking to shut the facility down.
The Ponca tribe has been operating a substance abuse center for men in Ponca City since 1972, Cole said. The women's center, located in the Ponca tribe's White Eagle community, was started in 1982.
Total capacity for both programs now is about 18 people, he said.
The new center will combine both operations, and will be built in White Eagle, Cole said.
The 5,000-square-foot building, funded by a community development block grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, is scheduled to be completed by late spring. It is to be operated by Indian Health Services, with the Poncas providing staffing.