In the Spirit of Medicine: Gijigijigaaneshinh

Apr 27, 2020

Gijigijigaaneshinh (chickadee)
Credit Arne Vainio

  “A great sickness has been visited upon us as human beings. This happened to us as Native people a long time ago and it devastated us and killed us by the millions. It took our elders and our babies alike and there was nothing we could do.

“This new sickness affects all people from all over the world. It takes our elders and those most vulnerable. It takes people with cancer and heart disease, it takes people with diabetes and other chronic diseases. It spreads quickly and easily between people. It spreads at funerals and birthday parties and all public places and it can be spread by someone with no symptoms at all. It spreads at the places we should feel the safest, at our ceremonies and in our churches. Gathering together should be our strength, but with this sickness it is our downfall."

In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet. His essays on life, work, medicine, and spirit are published on and you can find the link to this story here.