Journey to Wellness: "To know that one person froze to death is something to fight for"

Aug 24, 2020

Medicine man Sid Perrault stands with his fellow marcher, Sage, at last Monday's event.
Credit Copyright Deb Holman. Used with permission.

Last week, the Twin Ports/Fond du Lac chapter of the American Indian Movement (AIM)marched to bring visibility to homelessness in Duluth. 

And visibility was the idea.  Everyone sees construction workers, says Phoebe Davis, a member of the city's Indigenous Commission (and a longtime KUMD volunteer), so marchers were clad in borrowed reflective vests.

But visibility is  a bigger issue for Indigenous people.  Indigenous people are disproportionately harmed by growing crisis of homelessness.  They're just 2% of the overall population but nearly 20% of the homeless population. And HUD's annual Point-in-Time survey - conducted in January, pre-pandemic - was up by almost 20% over last year.

With bans on eviction and foreclosures suspended for the time being, the situation is only going to get worse.

Phoebe Davis says we need to see people and what they are experiencing without looking away from the seriousness of their situation.

Journey to Wellness in Indian Country is made possible by the University of Minnesota Medical School-Duluth Campus, an emerging center of rural, American Indian and indigenous health research.