This week, we continue our focus on how Indian Country in Minnesota is responding to the pandemic, now that COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out, with another Special Edition of Native Lights: Visiting Vaccines. In this show we check in with the Indian Health Service, we learn more about COVID resources, and we hear a firsthand account of going through the whole vaccination process from a Minneapolis firefighter.
Daniel Frye (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) is the Director of Indian Health Services in the Bemidji Area. That service area of IHS includes Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the urban center of Chicago. Daniel shares the latest on how the vaccine roll-out is going for tribes, and how he is seeing “vaccine hesitation” shift toward “vaccine acceptance” as more elders receive their doses, share pictures on social media, and converse with family and community.
We also hear from Jenn Hall (Leech Lake), a Minneapolis Firefighter who just completed both doses of the Moderna vaccine. As a firefighter, Jenn is on the front lines responding to medical emergencies, in addition to fighting fires, and she shares how she wrestled with the decision to get vaccinated, and why she chose to do so. We also hear how Jenn and her colleagues reacted to the vaccine.
Plus, more from Kelly Miller (Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe), who is the Director of the Department of Indian Work at Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul. Kelly stepped up to become one of the Minnesota Department of Health’s COVID-19 Community Coordinators. In this role, Kelly provides a hotline for Native community members to answer all sorts of questions including scheduling, testing, safety, and economic resources.
Many thanks to Daniel Frye, Jenn Hall, and Kelly Miller. We appreciate all you do to inform us and to keep our relatives safe, as we go through this pandemic together.