KGUN 9NewsSpirit of Southern Arizona

Actions

Native Music Coalition helps members with journey to sobriety through finding indigenous identity

Practicing cultural awareness to heal the community
Native Music Coalition Equine Ranch
Posted at 7:51 PM, Sep 19, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Native Music Coalition is a local nonprofit offering meaningful services to reconnect Native Americans with their indigenous identity in a safe space. Their goal is to create a foundation for healing and wellness in the community, especially when it comes to practicing sobriety.

Executive Director Vincent Flores founded the nonprofit in 2018. It started as a group, but has grown to offer many resources and services. One of the services is the Equine Ranch, Southwest of the Tucson area.

The ranch gives members an opportunity to connect with horses, while honoring the importance horses have had to Native Americans.

“It's a way of life. The horses give themselves to us as a way of trust. So a lot of us have had our trust betrayed. So, when we establish that connection with a horse and someone who has been betrayed or has lost somebody, it’s really meaningful,” Flores described.

The ranch is for members looking to practice cultural awareness, whether it’s for reconnecting with indigenous identity in a safe space or for the purpose of practicing sobriety.

“I've been through a lot of the same challenges that they have had, and I have been able to overcome them by way of ceremony, by way of getting back to the culture and in turn, it has helped me maintain my sobriety,” said Flores.

The Equine Ranch is just one of the locations. The nonprofit also offers housing at three different locations. One location is for people that have been through the justice system. The other is a men's home for practicing sobriety, and a women and children's home for practicing sobriety.

Their central services are currently offered at their Native Music Coalition Wellness Center at 811 S. 6th Ave., but they are soon going to be expanding by moving to a new location at 3773 E. Broadway Rd.

Flores says he likes to keep all of his services close to the southwest side of Tucson because that’s where the need is greatest.

“Our people are suffering from alcohol, our people are suffering from addiction and in a dark place, which as most people see on the south side of Tucson, we want to be that ray of sunshine in the community, that ray of hope that people can come to when they’re ready,” said Flores.

Two years ago, Phillip Celaya decided he was ready.

“I grew up on the south side of Tucson, I lived there all my life. I've been in and out of trouble because it’s always been a struggle, not living on the reservation and not knowing my people,” revealed Celaya.

He says it was difficult to seek knowledge of his culture because of the stigma of not knowing. He made the change in his life when he found the Native Music Coalition. He started off in the men's home and found himself in a safe space to finally learn about his culture and forget his past.

“There’s another way to live instead of just doing drugs and drinking and not looking after your loved ones,” shared Celaya.

——-
Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing reyna.preciado@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.