David Martinez lives in Whitmore, is a Winnemem Wintu tribal member and is currently retired after working 16 years as a volunteer firefighter, search, rescue and extrication EMT 1 in Mendocino County and 10 years as a drug and alcohol counselor in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties. Though he learned about Winnemem Wintu culture visiting his aunty in summers, David grew up in San Leandro where racial bullying and harassment led him to start drinking as a teenager, beginning a struggle with addiction that lasted 20 years. He also developed PTSD and depression from his years working on the ambulance, often self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.
Today, David has been clean and sober for 16 years and finds balance through medication, Winnemem Wintu ceremonies and riding his motorcycle. He has spoken to high schools, community college classes and medical staff all over Shasta County.
David’s presentation can, depending on the audience, highlight the following topics: