By Tim Eberly
Peer pressure cannot be measured, but in Levi Briese's case, it can be counted. At one high school party, a classmate told Briese, one of the nondrinkers in the popular crowd at Havre, he would pool together $1,000 if Briese would drink a beer.
At another party, a boy offered Briese his ATM card with the same challenge.
"They see me as a nondrinker, and they want to make me a drinker," said Briese, who will be a senior.
Briese is a rare commodity in Hill County. Not only does he not drink, but the multi-sport athlete doesn't even drink pop.
On drinking nights, he dutifully acts as the designated driver for his friends. At a Feb. 22 underage drinking party that was busted by Havre police, Briese sat on a couch near the front door, sipping lemonade while preventing drunken partiers from driving home. When the police arrived, he got a citation for minor in possession of alcohol. Police issue the citations to youths at underage drinking parties even if they don't have alcohol in their possession.
"Sometimes you have to go beyond the law to do what's right," he said. "Ever since I was in middle school, I would read the newspaper about somebody driving in from Beaver Creek and they would drive off the road and die. ... I just thought, I'm going to stop that person from dying.' "
Dancing in powwows fills the void for 19-year-old Dustin Whitford that alcohol does for many of his peers at Rocky Boy.
A student at Stone Child College, Whitford attends between 30 and 40 powwows with his family each year, traveling to Canada, Wyoming, New Mexico and North Dakota. He grew up in a religious, culturally aware family. Like his two siblings, Whitford doesn't drink alcohol.
"I just never felt the need to," he said. "Seeing other people under the influence just totally kept me away from that."