“I realized that I was not the solution; I was part of the problem.”
James Mooney spent more than a decade in Utah State law enforcement and the State Department of Corrections, during which he was a zealous enforcer of the drug war. James was told by his supervisor, Hurricane Police Officer Kim Segmiller, that during his time undercover, he took down more people for drug charges than all the other confidential informants in the state of Utah combined. In 1993, he was given the Citizen’s Award of Commendation from the State of Utah, signed by Governor Mike Leavitt.
But his decade of ardent drug law enforcement also gave James the perspective that finally made him see he was not solving any problem. In fact, he was making it worse. “I was going after them with a vengeance,” he says. “One day, I was listening to a couple of confidential informants who were wired inside of a house. They were making a buy. Suddenly, I heard a little boy inside the house cry out for his mother, who along with the father would be put in prison for ten years as a result of what I was doing. It became vividly clear to me that I was not part of the solution to the drug challenge our nation is facing; rather, I was a contributing factor to enhancing the demising effect the war on drugs has on America’s families.”
James is a well-respected expert and leader in health, substance abuse, and corrections. A Seminole Indian, James was dedicated at age four to do the Creator’s work as a Medicine Man. Many of the American Indian ceremonies he facilitates deal with substance, physical, emotional abuse, and other unresolved debilitating issues that block healing and empowerment behaviors. James was also the director of the “Last Shot Program” for the Central Utah Correctional Facility, which lowered recidivism to below 30% over a period of 18 months. He was awarded the Medal of Merit from Governor Leavitt for his achievements in deterring inmates from returning to crime and eventually prison.
As co-founder of the Oklevueha Native American Church (ONAC), James has several roles through which he attempts to correct some of the damage the war on drugs has perpetrated upon American families. In addition to his role as an American Native Elder Seminole Medicine Man, James serves as the director of the recidivism reduction ‘clergy’ program (Habilitative Programs) of ONAC. In James’s opinion, the war on drugs is presently the largest contributing factor to the disruption of the American family unit. ONAC is dedicated in doing everything in its power to heal the destruction that the war on drugs has perpetrated upon our families.