Fighting the frontlines of COVID

Indian Country Today

Dr. Lyle Ignace joins us from the frontlines of Wisconsin's coronavirus spike to talk about his Native Strong virtual town halls where he goes one-on-one with Indian Country. And reporter Carina Dominguez has a story about a career in the art world that Jeffrey Gibson has carved out for himself.

With Wisconsin experiencing a spike in positive coronavirus cases. Doctor Lyle Ignace joins us from the badger state to tell us how he is addressing the pandemic in a way that respects cultural and traditional methods of healing.

Plus our reporter Carina Dominguez tells about one Choctaw and Cherokee citizen who is known for the text work in his art as well as his political views.

Some quotes from today's show.

Dr. Lyle Ignace:

"This very quickly came to being a pandemic with the concerns as a provider seeing previous epidemics before and impacts on reservations. This certainly came to the forefront as being very serious and urgent thing that needed to be addressed. There were several instances of tribes putting out curfews to mitigate the transmissions. Specifically with traffic and commerce concerns in the transmission of the virus. Tribes did what they felt was most urgent and appropriate."

"I think with the change in everyone's normal at the time, there was a bit of reluctance and maybe a lack of understanding and information out there. I feel once the CDC was able to get fully engaged in providing a public health message and approach the information started flowing and people started to get a better understanding. But it took time for everyone to be on board and that's to be expected. But we've tried every avenue in the social platform to be able to get that message out to our Native community."

"So several things in probably a multitude of several occurrences happened at the same time. So in August we obviously had a national discussion about going back school K-12 was a big issue here in Wisconsin. And that certainly evolved all of the tribal and educational institutions. We had people going back to college. So we had an insurgence of numbers as a result of the kids going back to school, obviously everyone all institutions provided ways to mitigate this. But that was kind of the beginning part of the increase followed by Labor Day weekend. It was the beginning of what we are now experiencing as the state being a hotspot."

"We have done the Native Strong town hall specifically as a Native to Native discussion. Information that is ongoing at the moment and also being able to provide up-to-date information in the Bemidji Indian health area. That’s Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota. It really was just an effort to get out a message how to help oneself, how to help your family. And we've been 25 weeks now, doing this Native Strong town hall virtually live. And so it's important. I felt that our Native community who may not necessarily have the internet or access to the internet, or they may have access to maybe Facebook but this was just an opportunity for Natives to have a forum and an open discussion about anything, about COVID-19. And I'm more than willing to discuss that."

"The impact that I'm seeing is not just in the area that I reside in, in the Bemidji Indian health area. It is really across the entire Indian Country. The impact we know can be quite serious. We know from earlier in the year Navajo Nation was deeply involved. The trends I'm seeing right now, especially with Wisconsin being a hotspot, we have all the 11 tribes. More specifically we have tribes like Oneida, Menominee, Potawatomi, and Sokaogon, are deeply involved with probably the highest incidence rates currently in the United States, but focused in these particular areas. And so it's going to be important as we move forward to not to be complacent and that we keep up this visual of protecting ourselves in our families. Wearing our masks and hand sanitizer and in social distancing as much as possible. And we will get through this."

Carina Dominguez:
"Jeffrey Gibson has carved out a career in the art world. And that's not just because he's a sculptor or because his body of work reflects his Indigenous heritage. It's because he has a broad skill set and his latest work is a Testament to that. And to his ability to bring worlds together. It's a part of the monuments. Now, exhibit on display at the Socrates sculpture park in Queens, New York."  

 "His monument stands out against the Manhattan skyline. This Choctaw and Cherokee artist is known for using text in his work and being political. Although he says, it's not something he sets out to do. Last year. He was named him a MacArthur fellow. The award includes a no strings attached $625,000 stipend, ample recognition and credibility. His latest piece is making the biggest statement yet."  

Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. She is also the anchor of the weekday newscast. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider.

Also in the newscast: 

Carina Dominguez, Pascua Yaqui, is a correspondent for the Indian Country Today Newscast. She covers news, politics and environmental issues. She’s most familiar with southwest tribes and splits her time between Phoenix, AZ and New York, NY.

CarinaDominguez@indiancountrytoday.com, Twitter: @Carinad7, Instagram: @CarinaNicole7

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