Category Archives: Health

During Covid-19, The Navajos Are Planting and Sharing

“As the pandemic has brought home the importance of the global movement for food sovereignty, members are planting and sharing.”  A. Nierenberg, The New York Times

Artie Yazzie grows produce for his community in the Arizona section of the Navajo Nation. Credit- J. Burcham- NYT

Excerpt;  For the Navajo Nation, a Fight for Better Food Gains New Urgency . Amelia Nierenberg, The New York Times

“When Summer Brown lived in Phoenix, she had no problem finding fresh produce. If the Sprouts supermarket near her home didn’t have what she was looking for, she would just drive somewhere else. This winter, Ms. Brown, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, moved back to her childhood home in Cornfields, Ariz., to start a small business as a leatherworker. Now, healthy food is harder to find for her two children, Paisley, 6, and Landon, 7. The entire Nation, which stretches 27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, has fewer than 15 grocery stores.

The Teesto Community Garden, which Mr. Yazzie tends, has remained opened through the pandemic.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

The small gardens and cornfields rising across the Nation are attempts to correct legacies of historical wrongs. Once, the Diné were prosperous gardeners, hunters and stewards of the land. Then the United States government colonized the land and displaced the Diné in the mid-1800s, during what is now known as the Long Walk, to an internment camp at Fort Sumner, N.M. Livestock were killed off. Fields were trampled. And some orchards were lost forever…Many households do not have running water, at a time when hand washing is critical.

Many multigenerational families live together in compounds, which makes social distancing impossible. And for the Diné and many other Indigenous nations, the public health crises caused by food inequality are generations old… After seeing food shortages during the pandemic, many Diné have started gardens. Normally, they would work communally, but social distancing has required some innovations.

Mr. Earle keeps corn pollen in a pouch for his morning prayers.Credit: John Burcham for The New York Times

Many Diné also receive federal food benefits. ‘You’ve got to stretch those funds, and the cheapest out there is junk food,’ said Artie Yazzie, a community gardener, who grows produce for his neighbors.  ‘People come in here and pick whatever they want,” Mr. Yazzie said. ‘I just leave a sign.’ Some programs are working to get fresh produce to Diné children. The Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment program, a nonprofit health partnership, provides vouchers for families with young children that are good for buying only fruits, vegetables and traditional foods. The amount, depending on family size, can go up to $35 a week…Felix Earle, 43,  has been advising gardeners growing Indigenous seeds. In 2015, he found a handful of white corn kernels in a jar, 35 years after his grandmother hid them for safekeeping…This year, Mr. Earle, a fashion designer, planted his biggest crop ever. Across his property, stalks of corn are rising, almost 1,000 in all. He turned his discovery into a business, Red Earth Gardens, and gives kernels to interested members of the Nation. This year, for the first time, he ran out…It took a deadly virus to make people realize just how important this is, how important it is to grow your own food, he said.’ Some gardens at schools and senior centers have been closed since March.”

Notices From the Office of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (Democratic Party)

Here are new rules for schools across the entire state

Click here to learn more about child care.

Click here to find nutritional assistance near you.

current public health order

following COVID-safe measures

For Personal Help – please visit  http://www.newmexico.gov/i-need-assistance/

Indian Country Today:

Are you a Native student whose college or university has been closed or switched to online classes? Visit this spreadsheet for resources involving technology in Native communities. It is updated by San Juan College’s Native American Center.

• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

COVID-19: Native advisories and event updates

“The Democrats bowed to the realities of the pandemic and canceled the major in-person speeches that were still planned for their convention this month.” By Reid J. Epstein and Katie Glueck, The New York Times

Credit: M. V. Agins/The New York Times

“I’ve wanted to set an example as to how we should respond individually to this crisis,” Mr. Biden said at a fund-raiser on Wednesday. “Science matters.” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Joe & Jill Biden Address Indian Country

“A week after the Biden campaign hires national tribal engagement director, Jill Biden speaks to Native leaders #NativeVote20” A. Chavez, ICT

Dr. Jill Biden. ICT

Excerpt: Joe Biden campaign steps up in Indian Country, A. Chavez, ICT

“Former Second Lady Jill Biden spoke to Native leaders Tuesday afternoon affirming a commitment to ‘uphold tribal sovereignty’ under a Joe Biden administration. She spoke as a surrogate for her husband who is the Democratic nominee for President.

Jill Biden’s virtual remarks were given at the July meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s Native American Caucus.

‘Joe believes in you [Indian Country]. And so do I. We believe in your strength and your hope and your sovereignty. We will work hard to earn your trust. And we will always stand with Indian Country,’ Jill Biden said.

Her roughly 8-minute speech highlighted Joe Biden campaign’s pledge to invest in clean water and broadband access while protecting natural and cultural resources in Indian Country…Another topic of significance was the impact of the Native vote in the 2020 election… The call comes more than a week after Clara Pratte, Diné, was hired as the national tribal engagement director of the Biden presidential campaign… Also working on the Biden campaign is PaaWee Rivera, Pojoaque Pueblo, who is the western coalition director and formerly worked on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign as the Colorado state director…The Biden campaign says it plans to hire more Native staff as the campaign progresses. In the meantime, Pratte says she is passionate about the Biden campaign because “he knows Indian Country.”

“Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. joined forces with his top surrogate Thursday morning [July 23, 2020], releasing a video of a conversation with former President Barack Obama that cast the current occupant of the White House as unworthy and Mr. Biden as the perfect leader to replace him.” A. W. Herndon, The New York Times

 

IN MEMORY: John Robert Lewis

Born: February 21, 1940 — Died: July 17, 2020

Category: Culture, Healing, Health

A Native Tribe Wants to Build a Medical Center…Non-Natives Are Opposed

“A classic not-in-my backyard fight has erupted in the Pacific Northwest over a recovery and medical center for [Natives] in an area hit hard by addiction and overdose deaths.”D. Stone and A. MauchThe Washington Post

Tribe Chairman Ron Allen, standing at the site of the proposed opioid treatment center in Sequim. Credit- Ricky Carioti The Washington Post

Excerpt:A Native American tribe plans to build an opioid treatment center, but neighbors have vowed to block it —ByDebbie C. Stone and  Ally Mauch– The Washington Post

“One morning last year, Brent Simcosky stepped out of a pickup truck in the middle of a sprawling field off Highway 101, stood in grass that brushed his knees and imagined an oasis from the scourge of opioids.

The epidemic had struck particularly hard here in Clallam County, where generations of families from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe live along the waterways of the Salish Sea…Jamestown tribe leaders invested in schools, farming and aquaculture, spreading shells along the tidelands so that oysters could grow. Now, Simcosky had multimillion-dollar tribal and state commitments to finance a state-of-the art outpatient opioid treatment and healing center that would combine native practices with counseling, medical care and medications known to block the euphoric effects of opioids…In Washington, with 29 federally recognized tribes, Native Americans have died of opioid overdoses at a rate nearly three times higher than that of nonnatives. For heroin alone, it was four times higher, federal data shows. The tribe planned to offer treatment to residents — native and nonnative — across two counties…In May 2019, the tribe bought the land. The purchase initially drew little attention in Sequim, population 7,000, a town of retirees, artisan shops and an annual lavender festival that brings flocks of tourists every summer.

Clinical supervisor Erik Ostergaard has a counseling session with patient Lila Williams, 29, of the Swinomish Tribe…Williams has been sober for two years. Ricky Cariotihe Washington Post

But a group of local residents rallied to block the project, arguing that tiny Sequim was no place for a regional drug treatment center. When tribe leaders called a public meeting to present their plan, more than 1,000 people spilled into a steamy room at the civic center and onto hundreds of folding chairs set up outside.

Scores came from a newly formed group: Save Our Sequim, a name that became a rallying cry. Jodi Wilke, one of the founders of SOS, said the issue has never been about need, the importance of helping to root out addiction in the community. The problem, she said, is location.

SOS members worry a treatment facility would draw too many outsiders struggling with addiction into a small community without adequate law enforcement and social services. Tourism could falter. Housing prices could drop. Schools could quickly become overwhelmed, SOS members have argued.

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe intends to build a 17,000-square-foot outpatient clinic for medical and addiction treatment on this land in Sequim, Wash.

The site itself, Wilke said, is too close to a neighborhood and senior housing…Jamestown tribe leaders have been careful to sidestep conversations about race even though supporters of the center point out that nearly all of their opponents appear to be nonnative.

Instead, tribe leaders have stressed that many communities have woefully inadequate resources for addiction treatment and that helping those with substance abuse disorder will ultimately strengthen Sequim and the surrounding region.

“We want to be sure that they understand,’ Allen, the tribe chairman, said of the center’s opponents. ‘We were basically born here before you guys ever showed up.’

The tribe’s public health officer pointed out that Clallam County had experienced a series of opioid overdoses and that, nationally, an average of 130 people die of opioid overdoses each day.”

 

Presidential Leader Joseph R. Biden and his advisers see 2020 largely playing out as a referendum on Trump. Credit- Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. Please stay safe. Please take care of each other.” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 06/25/20   Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more.

Where to begin? After extensive research, the most comprehensive and user-friendly website for finding assistance from a multitude of programs is arguably Benefits.gov.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic information.Indian Health ServiceNational Congress of American IndiansNational Indian Health Board

Be Strong-Be Smart-Be Safe!

Natives Deserve More Attention in the Area of Police Violence

“The issue of officer-involved shootings has entered mainstream discourse, but it has focused on the African American population, largely because of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. But Native Americans suffer from police violence at an equal or even higher rate.” O. Ajiilore, urban.org

14-year-old Jason Pero

Excerpt: Native Americans deserve more attention in the police violence conversation-By Olugbenga Ajilore — December 4, 2017 —

(NOTE: Although this article was written 3 years ago, police violence towards Natives has increased over the years-TF Staff)

“On Wednesday, November 8, in northern Wisconsin, 14-year-old Jason Pero was killed by officers from the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office responding to a call that someone on the streets had a knife. As with many officer-involved shootings, the incident sparked questions, including why the officers used lethal force for a boy with a knife…Pero was a member of the Bad River Chippewa tribe, and the shooting occurred on the Bad River reservation…We must pay attention to police violence against this neglected community and not just during Native American Heritage Month. We don’t know how many Native Americans are subject to police violence, mainly because there is little information available about police violence in general. We don’t even know how many people die at the hands of law enforcement.

Official data on police violence are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, but these sources undercount fatal encounters among all racial and ethnic groups. This leaves the full scope of the problem’s size and prevalence unknown. Even with data collection issues, these sources show that Native Americans are killed at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group…

When taking the context of the police encounter into consideration, Native American fatalities tend to align with those of all victims, with the exception of substance use. Excessive alcohol consumption has a greater health impact on Native Americans than on any other racial group, which could be a factor in fatal police encounters…Wisconsin, where Jason Pero was killed, is a PL-280 state. The officers who responded to the call were not part of the tribal police department. The outcome might have been different had the situation been handled by a tribal authority.”

RELATED:  Excerpt: Minneapolis Natives condemn Black man’s death in custody, ‘racist ideologies’ By Eddie Chuculate, ICT

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“I have almost a blind faith in crisis in the American people getting it right”  ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Latest Presidential General Election Polls 2020:

“Joe Biden’s lead against Trump in the 2020 election is growing wider, polls show — With the 2020 election now less than five months away, polls show former Vice President Joe Biden pulling further ahead of [Trump].”  Kevin Breuniger, CNBC June ,2020

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Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 06/19/20   Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. 

Where to begin? After extensive research, the most comprehensive and user-friendly website for finding assistance from a multitude of programs is arguably Benefits.gov.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

STAY STRONG — STAY SAFE 

Gallup NM On Strict Lockdown!

“The lockdown in Gallup N.M. on the edge of the country’s largest Indian reservation… All the roads into this city on the edge of the Navajo Nation are closed. The soldiers at the checkpoints have their orders: outsiders must turn around and drive away.” S. Romero, The New York Times

A roadblock at one of the entrances to Gallup, N.M. Credit…A. Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

 

Excerpt: New Mexico Invokes Riot Law to Control Virus Near Navajo Nation

“Cities across the country have closed down businesses and ordered residents to remain at home, but the threat of the coronavirus in Gallup became so serious last week that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act to lock down the entire city. The downtown of shops, bars and Indian trading posts is now nearly deserted.

On Sunday, the downtown of shops, bars and Indian trading posts was nearly deserted. Credit…A. Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

The lockdown comes as state and local authorities grapple with one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the United States on the nearby Navajo Nation, the country’s largest Indian reservation, and a surge in detected cases in places near the reservation.

As of Sunday, the Navajo Nation had reported a total of 2,373 cases and 73 confirmed deaths from the virus. With a rate of 46 deaths per 100,000 people, the tribal nation has a higher coronavirus death rate than every state in the country except New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

While Gallup is not within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation, the city of 22,000 serves as a regional hub for the Navajo and other nearby Native American pueblos. Many citizens of various tribal nations regularly drive into Gallup to buy food and other goods.

The refusal to follow social distancing guidelines by some residents of Gallup and other so-called border towns near the reservation has emerged as a source of tension, as tribal authorities say the behavior is undermining their attempts to control the virus.

The Gallup area had the third-highest rate of infection of any metropolitan area in the United States as of Sunday…McKinley County, which includes Gallup, now accounts for about 30 percent of all confirmed coronavirus cases in New Mexico, surpassing counties in the state with much larger populations.

In addition to shutting down all roads into Gallup, including the exits off the interstate highway, the lockdown order directs the essential businesses that are still operating to close from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. Nonessential businesses remain entirely closed in Gallup, as they are in other parts of New Mexico.

A nearly empty intersection in Gallup. Credit…A. Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

The order also prohibits residents from leaving their homes except for emergency or essential outings, and allows only two people in vehicles at a time.

Soldiers from the New Mexico National Guard were stationed at some of the checkpoints into Gallup on Sunday. Dusty Francisco, a spokesman for the New Mexico State Police, said the agency had sent 32 officers to assist.

Mayor Louis Bonaguidi, who requested the lockdown, said he understood that the ask was unusual. ‘However, the Covid-19 outbreak in the city of Gallup is a crisis of the highest order,’ Mr. Bonaguidi said. ‘Immediate action is necessary.’

Mr. Bonaguidi on Sunday requested an extension of the lockdown and the governor said she would sign an order on Monday extending the measure until Thursday at noon…Before the lockdown, tribal leaders complained that their attempts to curb infections on the reservation by setting curfews and creating checkpoints were being undermined when Navajo citizens ventured into Gallup. Residents of Gallup also groused that many people were ignoring social distancing guidelines by crowding into vehicles and food stores.

The riot control law invoked by the governor allows police to issue misdemeanor citations for first-time violators. Repeat offenders could face felony charges…Native Americans account for 53 percent of New Mexico’s confirmed coronavirus cases, while making up about 11 percent of the state’s population. Epidemiologists list several contributing factors, including multiple generations living in single households on reservations and a shortage of running water, making basic hygiene difficult…The fight to curb the spread of the virus in Gallup comes at a time of anger over the Trump administration’s failure to distribute the billions of dollars in coronavirus relief allocated to tribes in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package.

Tribes including the Navajo Nation are suing the Treasury Department over its decision to allow for-profit native corporations in Alaska, in which Native Alaskans hold shares, to access the federal relief…Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, said he fully supported the lockdown order. ‘We have many members of the Navajo Nation that reside in Gallup and many that travel in the area and their health and safety is always our top priority,’ said Mr. Nez.”

Native and Homeless During the Coronavirus

“American Indians and Alaska Natives clustered in camps or on the streets; ‘It’s been a crazy time’J. Estus, Indian Country Today

As many as 4,000 of Anchorage’s 300,000 residents don’t have permanent housing. Photograph- Ash Adams:The Guardian

 

Excerpt: Homeless. Vulnerable. And no option for ‘self isolation’ By Joaqlin Estus, Indian Country Today

“Every major city has a virtual suburb for the homeless. Homes consisting of tents, scrap wood, shopping baskets and cardboard boxes. In shelters, a family dwelling might have a common kitchen and bedrooms with bunk beds. Others may have a large room filled with dozens of bunk beds or canvas cots. Some have dozens of rubber-coated thick pads placed a foot apart in rows laid across a concrete floor.

Chronic diseases are higher than normal in the best of times. The ideal terrain for a virus, such as COVID-19, to take hold and spread…Seattle has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. There have been 1,187 COVID-19 cases and 66 deaths in Washington as of March 19. (New York City has more cases, 4,000, but fewer deaths, 22).

‘It’s been a crazy time,’ said Abigail Echo-Hawk, Pawnee, chief research officer at the Seattle Indian Health Board. ‘I’m just trying to put out as many resources as I possibly can and serve my community to the best of my abilities. I’m just grateful to all my ancestors that came before me, who have taught us how to be strong, resilient people.’

The Seattle Indian Health Board offers medical, dental, and behavioral services as well as elders and youth services. It provides resources to prevent homelessness. It also runs the Urban Indian Health Institute, one of 12 tribal epidemiology centers in the nation. In King County, where Seattle is located, American Indians and Alaska Natives are seven times more likely to be homeless than whites…She said the Seattle Indian health board is working to live up to CDC guidelines that, for now, are beyond its reach. ‘If we shut down our programs [involving more than ten people], our elders have nowhere to go for shelter and they have nowhere to go for their meals, which we provide. So from that harm reduction approach, we are making sure that there is distance between them of six feet.’

Echo-Hawk noted although the largest outbreak was in an affluent suburb, the first quarantine and isolation facility opened in one of Seattle’s lowest income neighborhoods. She said, in the interests of equity and social justice ‘we have to ensure that all of the risk is not just taken by low income communities.

We have to recognize it is now the time for the community as a whole to come together and to support one another.’

Tuesday evening at a press conference, municipal manager Bill Falsey said, ‘The sheltering capacity for homeless individuals in Anchorage was a challenge before COVID-19. The new issue is that our homeless community includes many individuals with underlying health conditions.

An outbreak of COVID-19 in a homeless shelter could be particularly severe. That would be terrible for the residents, but it also potentially affects everyone.”

Resource Sites for the COVID-19:

INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:

COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 03/26/20 at 3 pm.  Information Here

COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. The National Retail Federation also has over 70 corporations looking for workers.

COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Basic information.

Indian Health Service

National Congress of American Indians

National Indian Health Board

 Online Teaching  Activities Sites with Free Materials for Teachers, Students and Parents

STEM Teaching Guide

“Learning Packets” for students During School Closures By Larry Ferlazzo:It seems like a fair number of districts don’t have any kind of learning plan in place for their students right now. Some districts, however, even if they don’t have a full-fledged remote learning program going on, are creating “learning packets” for students to complete. It’s not great, obviously, but it seems like it’s better than nothing and can help out parents.” For more information visit

Home With Your Kids? Writers Want to Help” –  The New York Times Mo Willems, Gene Luen Yang, Amie Kaufman and other authors for young readers are reading their work online and offering drawing tutorials, to help fill our strange new hours. For more information visit

The STEM Sprouts Teaching Guide – Boston Children’s Museum & WGBH Welcome! Are you ready for some fun?

The STEM Sprouts Teaching Kit is the product of a collaborationbetween National Grid, Boston Children’s Museum, and WGBH. The goal of this curriculum is to assist preschool educators in focusing and refiningthe naturally inquisitive behaviors of three to five-year-olds on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). For more information visit here

Be Smart, Be Careful, Be Safe!