Journey to Wellness in Indian Country

Journey to Wellness // Monday 8:00am
A 10-minute bi-weekly program on Native American Community Health in MN and around the country in partnership with the University of Minnesota Medical School- Duluth Campus, Center of American Indian and Minority Health. The program will feature interviews with medical and health researchers, professors and doctors plus native people active in Native American health today. Journey to Wellness on KUMD is made possible by Ampers and the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.  

©Lisa Johnson

Looking around, it's hard to know where to start.

Worries and fears about physical safety, economic safety - your kids, your parents, your job ...

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College/Facebook

Most students, parents, and teachers aren't huge fans of distance learning, but for Indigenous students and tribal colleges, it's alot more than just a nuisance.

At 4pm on Friday, March 27th, just at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and national shut-downs, the chairman of the of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe got a phone call from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

But instead of the offer of help he was expecting, he was told the Department of the Interior was taking their land out of trust.

Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

Despite the pandemic, despite the stay-at-home orders, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency wants to go ahead with a series of  "telephone town hall meetings" about the approval/disapproval of some permits for the Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

Lummi Communications/Facebook

Native people in America are facing the same situation the rest of the country finds itself in - but with a few significant differences.

Testing supplies and personal protection equipment are in short supply, as they are everywhere else, but among Native people, there is a disproportionate level of infectious disease, with 1 to 3 times the mortality of the overall population.

There is a higher level of lung disease and diabetes, many Native communities lack safe water  and a quarter of the people are uninsured.

antefixus21/Flickr

Things were always pretty busy at AICHO.

The American Indian Community Housing Organization's Dabinoo'Igan Emergency Domestic Violence Shelter provides ten beds and is open 24/7, and Executive Director Michelle LeBeau says every day, they have to turn people away for lack of space.

The Permanent Supportive Housing program has 32 adults and 42 kids.

But all those adults and kids are staying put now, which means AICHO has more people consuming meals and other resources.

Steve Premo/MNHS Press

Baabiitaw Boyd believes the elders who told her that a lot of the problems Native people experience are the result of not having access to their language and cultural practices.

Tadd Johnson laughs and says he's at an age where he doesn't mind speaking truth to power.

So when he talked to University of Minnesota president Joan Gabel about the consultation the federal government was required to have with tribes, he didn't pull any punches.  Particularly, he pointed out, with the lack of a "consultation pipeline" between Minnesota's 12 federally-recognized tribes (and people) and the University system.

Minnesota Historical Society

Fort Snelling needs a name change, says the Minnesota Historical Society. That is, the historic site, not the fort itself. 

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health/Facebook

When you think of world-class medicine in Minnesota, you probably think of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. But Johns Hopkins has just opened up a center here in Duluth, and the new director is also an adjunct  professor here at UMD.

Roxanne Gould

What happens at the intersection of Native American "ways of knowing" and the kind of academic rigor demanded of colleges and universities? The Andrew Mellon Foundation is spending two million dollars at the University of Minnesota - in the Twin Cities and Duluth - to find out the answer.

Native kids aged 10 to 24 have the highest rate of suicide of any age group in Minnesota -- more than three times that of white kids. 

Jonathan Thunder. Used with permission.

Although you've probably never thought about it this way, European colonizers exploring the world were more concerned with making themselves comfortable in new places (read "more familiar/Euro-centric") than appreciating or adapting to the environments and cultures that were already there.

You may know folks like this; perhaps not "colonizers," but people who want to stay in the comfort of what they know as opposed to learning new things.

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