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Ojibwe tribal member Fred Isham throws sage on a fire that's heating stones used in the sweat lodge behind him. Sage is a sacred, purifying medicine for the Ojibwe. Isham, a participant in the Cass County-Leech Lake Tribal Wellness Court, uses the sweat lodge and other cultural ceremonies to help him stay sober. The wellness court program is the first of its kind in the country. (Tom Robertson / Minnesota Public Radio News)

Tribes, Minnesota use wellness court to fight addiction

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CASS LAKE, Minn. -- Fred Isham sits near a blazing fire just outside Cass Lake on the Leech Lake Indian Reservation.

The 37-year-old tribal member helped build the fire to heat carefully selected stones that will be used in a nearby sweat lodge.

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Inside the sweat lodge, Isham and others will pray and conduct spiritual Ojibwe ceremonies.

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