NIDA Contest Entry

John-David, Navajo, Age 16, Oregon

Don’t Go to the Dark Side

My name is JD LittleHawk Berglund. I just turn 16 this year. I am proud to say I am Dine and Irish. I love who I am. I love my mom and dad, I have an older sister name Taylor who is like my second mom. My quick story: my best friend Jordan entered the spirit world back in October 2020 at that time I had to grow up quick to try to understand this process. Instead of holding on to my anger, staying quiet about my feelings, I asked for help. I still connect with my Mental Health counseling and my counselor is an American Native from WA state. I attend weekly youth nights at NARA, Future Generations, and I always look forward to Thrive Conferences. These groups are where I acknowledge more indigenous cultural teachings and the connections we all have like learning our languages, being aware of our Historical past, learning from our elders, supporting each other by learning how to bead, painting and I just found out I am actually good a poetry. who knew, but I took a healthy risk and found out. Without these youth support groups and connections I wouldn’t recognize my own resilience and how strong I actually am. My goal is to understand stories told from our elders, working as a one Indigenous community in my urban area, to be there for the next generation like my uncles did when I cried for help. Connecting to our American Indian cultural is very important for me and for the youth today as we are the voice for the next generation. I learned I surrounded myself with positive, caring and supportive family and friends. Bringing back the old teachings and for me knowing I am strong enough to say No to any Substance misuse. I try my best to bring in one friend at a time to one of my Indigenous youth groups because maybe they will bring another friend or sibling. Our fight currently is to show our actions to not taking any substance because that is not within our culture.

I asked my sister to draw for me. Taylor’s (thunderbird) symbol is by the picture. thanks sis. love you.

the art: substance misuse rots your heart and soul and the person is learning the awareness as this person is dancing into the direction of their cultural teachings.

JD LittleHawk


I’ve heard that college parties get out of control. What should I do?

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