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.

Lesson 4 – The Warrior: A Coup


Take charge of the challenging aspects of addictions.


You will identify challenges in your journey towards recovery and determine what it will take to eliminate those challenges.  Use these links to access the available resources with this lesson:  Elaine Grinnell Biography, History of the Jamestown S’Klallam, Core Values Exercise, and the Historical Trauma Resource Sheet.

“Be serious and get well.”
– Elaine Grinnell


During the course of the hero’s journey, you may find it necessary to declare war on the things that stand in your way of achieving where you want to be, or who you want to become.  In addictions, the “enemy” may take the shape of your old lifestyle, may be a circumstance, or be individuals or groups standing in the way of your transformation.  Choosing to become a warrior is a courageous act.

Coup What is a Coup? A coup is an act of courage that results in a successful triumph over an enemy or difficult situation. Coup was a common deed practiced among the Plains Native American people. To carry out a coup, a warrior would approach an enemy and touch or strike him without being injured himself. It required finesse to strike an enemy, while being able to stop short of destroying him. Considered an honorable act of bravery, the warrior had to recognize his abilities and use just enough of his strength to face the enemy, strike him, and then escape fast enough to avoid injury. For that reason, it was an honorable experience. It was a battle won with respect and in some ways was a humbling experience.

The Preparations

In lesson #2, when we did the work exploring your identity, we talked briefly about people or lifestyles that hinder your progress towards addictions recovery.  You identified those people and things you found necessary to give up, and proclaimed a willingness to do so.  As a Warrior, it is time to plan to make that happen.   Go back and review the writings about your identity and look over the list of your collective identity.  Make note of the people and things you identified as necessary to eliminate from your life.

What must be given up:  becoming a warrior

Listen to Elaine Grinnell’s story and complete this exercise.   She talks about her family’s work towards sobriety.  She mentions people and the “fun times” she had to give up in order to successfully end a family lifestyle involving alcohol.


  1. List some of the things Elaine describes as having given up in her journey to recovery.  How are those things described?  (For example: “…it was fun to drink.”)
  2. Are there similar things in your life that you are feeling reluctant to leave behind?  Make a list of the things you will have difficulty letting go.
  3. Write a sentence describing the benefits of giving up each of the items listed in #2.

Choosing new ways

Elaine also talks about replacing old behaviors (and friends!) with new ones:

“I’d say it’s worth it.  You’ll find new friends.  You’ll find new things to do.
And then you’ll be in control of your own life.”
– Elaine Grinnell

  1. List ideas for replacements of the things you plan to give up.

Introspection: Describe what Elaine’s statement means to you:

“And then you’ll be in control of your own life.”

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