Mechuksas (greetings in the Miwuk language),
My name is Mark Fountain. I’m a member of the Calaveras County Mountain Miwuk Tribe, located in West Point California in the Sierra Nevada Foothills. I grew up and went to school in the East Bay Area growing up. But every weekend, holiday, school vacation and summer vacation I was up in the foothills with my family.
I was raised in a good home environment, but I felt like I didn’t belong. This is no fault of my parents or family. They are very loving and provided all I should have needed but I still felt out of place. I didn’t belong or fit in at school, or in with my native family. I felt like an outsider which led me to try many things to fit in everywhere. I became someone I was not and ended up lost. This led to me using drugs and alcohol and leaving home at 17-18 years of age. This went on for many years and many attempts to get sober and clean, which failed over and over. In 2003 I found a sweat lodge and began a spiritual path which help me stay clean and sober for 10 years. But I didn’t take care of my mental health and after 10 years fell into a depression and relapsed.
In 2016 I came to 3Rivers Indian Lodge as a client and found myself again. This time I was able to get my mind, body, and spirit balanced. 3Rivers help me reconnect with my Higher Power through Sweat lodge and counselling that helped my mental health and help me become who I am today. The physical part was definitely working in the wood pile we have at the lodge.
After graduating 6 months of treatment, I was able to attend Culinary School and graduate. For the first time in my life, I was certified in something. I now have the joy and honor of now working as the Cook for 3Rivers.
Today I know who I am and like who I am, thanks to 3Rivers.