Rural Health and Tribal Health

Fellows roadtripped north to Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, for the annual Tribal Health and Rural Health meeting. Kristin Hill, Director of the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Epidemiology Center, provided an Indian Health Services overview, which detailed the Trust Responsibility to provide health care, an agreement between the federal government and tribes to provide healthcare for all American Indians. Despite this agreement, gloomy health statistics prevail in Indian Country. To better grasp how issues of historical trauma are embedded in the daily lives of Native people, we spent time talking with Center staff and discussing the films The Canary Effect and Lighting the 7th Fire.
Fellows and GLITE-C staff discuss the film "The Canary Effect"
The sad topics were punctuated with hopeful stories and experienced, however. Epidemiologist Isaiah Brokenleg and Wisconsin Native American Tobacco Network Director Teresa Barber showed the group their traditional tobacco garden, which is used for prayer and offerings to the earth. The pair also hosted a digital storytelling workshop, which has been a therapeutic and inspiring method for sharing stories about painful topics. 

Administrative Assistant Stacy Stone provided delicious homemade Indian tacos for the group. The group also took time to reflect on the meeting's themes by canoeing in beautiful Northwoods nature. We even saw two bald eagles!
Fellows and staff enjoy homemade Indian tacos
Mari, Katherine, and Paula canoe in the Northwoods
The following day, the Fellowship crew headed to Eagle River for a meeting with staff at the Vilas County Health Department. Here, we heard about the challenges and successes of working in a rural health setting.