Mash Ka Wisen Treatment Center Reviews, Cost, Complaints
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Mash Ka Wisen Treatment Center


sawyer minnesotaMash Ka Wisen Treatment Center Review

Since 1977, Mash Ka Wisen Treatment Center has provided inpatient treatment services to Native Americans struggling with chemical dependency. The treatment facility, located in Sawyer, Minnesota, offers culturally relevant programs to men and women at least 16 years of age. Individuals are treated through a 12-step based program which includes on-site AA/NA meetings, group and individual therapy, educational lectures, physical activities and cultural practices. Programs are catered to Native American Indians seeking holistic support for a successful recovery. 

Accommodations and Food

The MKWTC facility houses 28 men and 18 women in separate buildings located on the same campus. Residents are accommodated in shared rooms with a maximum of two people to a room at a time. All rooms come equipped with twin beds, closet space and desks. Bathrooms are shared in the halls. Both the men’s and women’s facilities have common areas and living rooms where clients can relax, work on assignments and interact with one another during downtime. There is also a gym on-site that residents are required to use during the week. Women have an hour set aside from Monday through Friday starting at 8:45 pm while men have mandatory gym time in the afternoons at 2:45 pm.

Food is served in a cafeteria and prepared by an on-site kitchen staff. The food at MKWTC consists of home-cooked meals rich in healthy proteins like fish and chicken. There is also a salad bar with assorted vegetables, egg and tuna salad and fruit. Three meals are served a day along with a night snack. Special meals can be arranged for those with dietary restrictions.

Treatment and Staff

Treatment begins after an initial assessment with a drug and alcohol counselor used to create an individualized treatment plan. Both the men’s and women’s residential programs are structured with therapists using specific modalities best suited for each individual when meeting with clients for one-on-one sessions, scheduled as needed. Those with co-occurring disorders are offered medication management services when necessary. There is also therapeutic support for those with a dual diagnosis.

At Mash Ka Wisen, inpatient treatment typically lasts from 30 to 90 days. This track incorporates a combination of individual and group therapy sessions using evidence-based modalities like CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing (MI) and EMDR. There are also on-site support group meetings during which clients are introduced to the 12 steps. As a supplement to therapeutic groups, clients engage in educational lectures and watch treatment videos. Topics discussed during these sessions include the disease of addiction, relapse prevention and coping skills. Aside from lecturing, counselors assign homework pertinent to the material discussed. Residents can complete these assignments during the morning study time hour.

MKWTC is a Native American facility that emphasizes healing the spirit through cultural activities. As a result, cultural rituals like piping and drumming ceremonies, talking circles, powwows and meditation are implemented into residents’ daily routines. Staff members at MKWTC include LADCs, LCSWs, psychiatrists and psychologists.


Family programming is available for the family members of clients through counseling sessions. MKWTC also has halfway house programs for Native American men and women dealing with chemical dependency. Prospective residents must be 16 years and older.

These sober living environments are the Thunderbird Halfway House which accommodates up to 12 men at a time and the Wren House which sleeps up to nine women. Both programs provide a sober and supportive environment conducive to healing and maintaining recovery. Residents are required to abide by house rules, which include attendance of on-and off-site 12-step meetings, daily chores and educational and therapeutic group therapy sessions. Aside from evidence-based therapy, clients are offered art therapy on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5 to 7 pm. During the weekdays clients have a 10 pm curfew which is extended to 11:30 pm on the weekends.

In Summary

For those interested in a program combining Native American rituals, 12-step principles, evidence-based practices, educational lectures and psychical activities, Mash Ka Wisen Treatment Center is a good fit. Treatment is available in a residential setting with halfway house programs offered as a step down. In all, Mash Ka Wisen is a solid choice, particularly for Native Americans wishing to recover in a culturally supportive environment. 

Mash Ka Wisen Treatment Center Location

1150 Mission Rd
Sawyer, MN 55780

Mash Ka Wisen Treatment Center Cost

$7,458 (30 days); $7,778 (30 days with co-occurring disorder). Reach Mash Ka Wisen Treatment Center by phone at (218) 879-6731.

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Photo courtesy of Sletbte (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via WikimediaCommons (resized and cropped)

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