Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

Elaine Grinnell is a storyteller representing her people, the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe. She maintains many roles as a wife, mother, grandmother, family and friend to many. Elaine calls her birthplace home -- the northwest corner of Washington State. In her story, Elaine describes how addictions have affected her people, the S’Klallam people. She shares stories of how her family found the strength to deny the power of addictions, and she shares how the tribe is working towards the task of supporting those finding themselves in the powerful grasp of addictions. Read Elaine’s account of how addictions are losing the war over control of her people, the S’Klallam people of Washington State.

Core Values Exercise

Core Values is the term used to describe the set of beliefs that you hold dear. Your personal core values make up the foundation of your belief system. The choices you make in life are based upon the core values you cherish.

Look at the list of words below. These are examples of different core values that may influence your life. Read over the list to determine which of these values are important to you. If you have additional values that aren’t listed here, add yours to the list. Once you’ve had time to read over and think about all of the values on the list, do the steps listed below. (Note: This exercise is very difficult – take your time to think through each step.)

Peace Success In the spaces below,
Wealth Justice add any you feel are
Personal Expression Happiness missing :
Family Wisdom
Power Social Status
Friendship Truth ___________________________
Intellect Integrity
Career Love ___________________________
Fame Spirituality
Social Justice Religion ___________________________
Community Health/Wellness
Tribe Environment ___________________________
Influence ___________________________

Step one: After reviewing the list, choose the ten 10 core values you feel are most important to you. (Think of the things you “just couldn’t live without.”) Cross out the ones that didn’t make this cut.

Step two: Review the ten (10) core values that remain on your list. Now imagine you have to eliminate half of those. Cross out so that only five (5) remain. Choose carefully!

Step three: Next review the five (5) that remain. Then whittle your list down to three (3) core values! Cross out the ones you eliminate.

Step four: Now the difficult step! Choose 1 (Yes, only one!) from the three that remain, and cross out the other two.

Conclusion: The last core value left on your list is one that primarily guides your life. Many of the decisions you make are influenced by this value. Of course we have other core values, but when pressured, this one value will often shine through when you make choices in life. When you are addicted, you have no control over your choices. An addiction-based choice does not allow you to take into account your core values. When you are addicted, the things you hold most dear are left out of the decision-making process.


Reflection: How did it feel doing this exercise? What thoughts emerged when doing this exercise?

Journal: Use the following writing prompt to reflect upon this exercise.

1. Create a list of ten reasons why core values are important to you.

(Example: “The core values I cherish help me to feel my life is meaningful.”