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Minnesota Native News

180 EpisodesProduced by Minnesota Native NewsWebsite

Minnesota Native News is a weekly radio segment covering ideas and events relevant to Minnesota’s Native American communities. Made possible by the Minnesota Art's and Cultural Heritage fund


Talking Sexual Health

Marie: This is Minnesota Native News, I’m Marie Rock.  

Last month, the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis had a virtual watch party on social media, bringing together viewers to see what community members are saying about sexual health and and related topics, including why it’s difficult to talk about sex. 

We’ll hear more about how the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis works with the community to talk about sexual health.

But first… the US Census is well on its way, collecting information from citizens across the country… And, there’s still time to fill out the Census. 

The U.S. Census Bureau has extended the 2020 census deadline to September 30th due to the pandemic.

Here’s reporter Leah Lemm with these stories.


REPORTER: The Indian Health Service is a critical program…. Of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services… providing healthcare to American Indian/Alaskan Natives nationwide. 

The Indian Health Service or I-H-S uses Census data to plan its programs… and to determine funding formulas and more.

But, when it comes to Native representation in the US, the trend has always been under-representation, which has negatively affected many areas including: Native visibility, political clout, reservation economic development…. and Federal funding allocation.

Daniel Frye is the Bemidji Area Director of the Indian Health Service:

Dennis Frye: As a Native American, I want to see us properly represented, that's a fact. So, you know, I was happy to fill out my census. And you know, there is urgency because there's always been either under-representation Racial misclassification in Indian country. 

And all those things are tied to when Congress is looking at how we're going to appropriate dollars.

REPORTER: You can still respond to the census by phone, by mail, or online. More information can be found at 20-20 CENSUS DOT GOV.

Reporter: Next up… the challenge of reaching people with sexual health education.


Delilah Robb: (00:16) my name is Delilah Robb. I'm a community health educator at the Indian health board of Minneapolis and the Indian health board is a clinic that's located in the Phillips neighborhood. It's been there for almost 50  years. 

Reporter: Delilah Robb is Turtle Mountain and her works revolve around educating all age groups about sexual health.

Delilah says that many parents and grandparents never received sexual health education.

Delilah Robb: (02:23) there's a long history of reproductive abuse against American Indian women. And that really is rooted from like forced sterilization. Um, so I really try to be mindful about like, let's just educate so our community can make their own informed decision.

(15:03) I’m American Indian myself, um, and growing up, I feel like I didn't have all the answers that I wanted, um, and I needed. Um, and I didn't even realize that I needed that information until I was in my twenties

REPORTER: The sexual health program is funded by the Minnesota Department of Health and  strives to reduce STDs and unplanned pregnancies… and so much more…. Delilah talks about sexuality beyond those immediate issues, as well.

Delilah Robb: (04:57) when I try to describe what sexuality, um, is, is to people, I like people to think about a pie and we all have these different pieces of the pie and our sexuality is made up a lot of different things. 

It's not just the physical aspect of ourselves. It's our, um, reproductive health, it's our body image. It is our sexual orientation. It's our gender identity. It's how we express love and affection. So I always try to like, get people to think about, um, sexuality in a more holistic way.

REPORTER: And through these aspects that are a part sexual health education, Delilah relates to culture and values….

Delilah: (07:52) our stories have, um, lots of are a story can have a lot of different types of lesson in it, lessons in it where it may not specifically be about sexual health, but there may be a lesson in there about treating each other with respect. 

So those are the types of things that I, I would like to incorporate into the education that I do.

REPORTER: Delilah is open to answering questions. She can be reached by email at That’s DELILAH DOT ROBB @ indian health board DOT com.

For MN Native News, I’m Leah Lemm.

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