Cherokees Open Substance Abuse Center
The Cherokee Nation celebrated the construction of its new $5 million Jack Brown Center at a grand opening ceremony in Tahlequah Monday.
The treatment center helps Native youth ages 13-18 overcome drug and alcohol addiction. It’s one of only 10 centers of its kind in the country.
The former Jack Brown Center was located in a 1930s era facility on the Sequoyah Schools campus. The newly constructed center at 1413 Missionary Circle, is a 28,000-square-foot, five-building campus with a farmstead architectural style. The expansion serves 36 Native teens instead of the previous capacity of 20.
“This is important for the Cherokee Nation because we put such a high value on physical, mental and spiritual health,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “The new facilities at the Jack Brown Center will allow us to help even more of our Native youth. These young men and women who are going through the counseling and addiction program, will have a real opportunity to help them change their life and get it back on track. One thing that makes it easier for them is having that connection to tribal culture. That’s something that makes Jack Brown unique and one reason it’s been so successful and why we needed to grow its capacity.”
Since 1988, the Jack Brown Center has treated more than 1,700 Native teens.
Tim Maxville, 41, spent six months at Jack Brown getting treatment for alcohol addiction when he was a senior in high school.
“I don’t know that my trajectory in life would’ve been the same if I had not gone to the Jack Brown Center for treatment,” said Maxville, a Choctaw citizen from Sand Springs. “I’m so glad this new center will serve more Native teens and show them there is a bright future. What had the biggest impact on me as a resident there was being around Natives that looked like me, talked like me and had the same problems as me, which I related to.”
Maxville now works in construction and is earning a degree in Native American Studies at Tulsa Community College. He has been sober for decades.
The new Jack Brown Center campus features a recreation center, male and female dorms, a cafeteria and large group therapy rooms. An iconic silo, part of the dairy farm on the original property, was kept as part of the design.
The construction was fully funded by the Cherokee Nation. The center receives Indian Health Service funds to operate.
The facility was designed by Cherokee TERO vendor Selser Schaefer Architects of Tulsa. Red Stone Construction Services, also a TERO vendor of Tulsa, was the contractor. An equine therapy program and ropes course may be added to the center in the future.