The Native American Community Clinic – or NACC – has announced plans for a new clinic and housing along the Native American cultural corridor in South Minneapolis. The new clinic aims to provide more than just medical, and housing needs but a place for the community to gather, grow and have a sense of belonging. MN Native News reporter Darek DeLille sat down with Executive Director Dr. Antony Stately to learn more.
Aaniin, Zhaawanang Binesii indigo, Southern Spirit Bird is what they call me. I’m Darek de Lille and I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Staley.
“My name is Antony Stately, I am an enrolled citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and descendent of the Great Red Lake and White Earth Nations of Minnesota. I’m the Executive Officer and the president of Native American Community Clinic, which is a federally qualified health care center that serves Native people in South Minneapolis.”
The discussion led to what our work offers us when we offer our work within our own communities,
“More than just work for a paycheck. I mean, anybody can do that, right? But there’s a there’s, there’s tremendous value and satisfaction in working for your home and working for your people. And that’s invaluable. That’s something not everybody gets to have,” said Dr. Stately. “Minneapolis is the birthplace to a lot of things that have had not just profound impact here locally. But nationally.”
We also talked about how our American Indian cultural corridor has changed and continues to change.
“There’s so much about it that’s different. And in some ways, there’s things that are the substructure, the stuff you can see is still there, that dichotomy between like, what it was like before and how it should be now and how we’ve made lots of progress in some areas and backslid. In other areas because of social conditions and economic conditions.”
The Native American Community Clinic has been okayed to develop and build its brand new six-story building with the first two floors, offering new clinic facilities and floors three to six offering new residential and transitional housing for the Native community. I asked Dr. Statley, what do you do with such big plans on the horizon?
“I did what I always do, when I don’t know what I’m going to do next, or how I’m going to accomplish it is a smudge and I said a prayer. And I just asked Creator, to like, cut my path. That’s really how I got here. And it’s actually how I got to where I’m at today, we’re in the process of building a brand new building. And we’re doing all this it’s staggering to me a $53 million project, right? I was like, I’m just a kid from the south side, like, how did I get here,” he said.
One of the first steps was to purchase the land that the clinic is currently on,
“We were able to secure the purchase of the building through a gift from the state government, they gave us a $3.8 million award to purchase this building; we worked with another one of our partners to raise the other 400,000 to buy it. We need a new building to bring everything under one roof. That’s what we’re trying to do as an integrative clinic, along with traditional healing and a few other things. And so we decided to build a new building. And you can make that decision when you’re a landowner. And that wasn’t a decision that was on the table when it was just the lease, we’re trying to create a place where every person who lives in the Twin Cities that’s native knows that this is a place where they belong,” said Dr. Stately.
I found out further into our chat that this plot of land now has a name.
“We went with the name Owáŋka Okáwitaya which means ‘a place for the people to gather’. Because as far as I’m concerned, there’s a dot-dot-dot at the end of that name, which is a place for people to gather, to celebrate, to heal, to grieve, just a place for people to gather and a place where people belong.”
And so to explain why this community clinic, and this housing development will coincide and coexist. Dr. Staley simply offered this
“Since the wall of forgotten natives, and all of the challenges that we’ve had with houselessness relatives in this community. Native people are 1% of the population between 1% and 2%, depending on who you talk to you. But we’re about 30% of the houseless population… that is unconscionable to me, also happens to be the largest social determinant of poor health outcomes for Native people. So it was a really easy pivot for me to go from like we’re going to build a brand new clinic to be we’re going to build a brand new clinic, and we’re going to put four floors of housing above it, because it’s our responsibility spiritually and morally, to help our relatives who are in the worst conditions in the worst shape.” said Dr. Stately.
Darek DeLille reporting for Minnesota Native News
Dr. Stately is also the host of Minnesota Native News’ Community Health Conversations
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