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Minnesota Native News

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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


Vaccination Rollout and Indian Country Reacts to the Attack on the US Capitol


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

COVID 19 Vaccine rollout in MN is underway…

And Indian Country responds to the attack on the U.S. Capitol building in Washington DC on January 6th…

Reporter Leah Lemm has these stories…


Reporter: The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Vaccines have been a huge goal to help fight the spread of the virus, and now multiple types of COVID 19 vaccines are being administered.

The Native American Community Clinic or NACC is one place where the Moderna COVID 19 vaccine is available for staff and patients. The vaccine kickoff at NACC was held before the New Year, starting with a short ceremony and initial vaccines.

A lot of thought and planning has been put into what the rollout will look like at NACC. Dr Antony Stately is NACC’s CEO.

Dr Antony Stately: we'll start with 65 and older. We'll look at folks 55 to 65, also many of those fixed folks within our community are considered to be elders.

We'll be vaccinating those individuals who have some chronic conditions that place the medics at a heightened risk for contracting COVID-19 and getting sick and possibly ending up in the ICU.

Reporter: They’re not wasting any time getting the vaccines out to the Native community.

Dr Antony Stately: the native population is so much more disparately impacted by COVID-19 in the state. We've been given the ability to justify and sort of create our own methodology for who we want to vaccinate in our communities based on the risk that we see happening in our communities.

Reporter: Those working in highly impacted communities are trying to make the vaccine available as soon as possible.

Dr. Antony Stately: there are folks like me and other folks in health leadership in native community who have advocated and really strongly lobbied for our prioritization of native communities and black communities to get the vaccine and to get it before other communities that have historically had more privileged because we are seeing much more significantly impacted than the rest of the population.

Reporter: Those under 18 can’t get the Moderna vaccine at this point. Also, those who’ve had COVID need to be cleared from the illness for 90 days.


Next… On January 6th, 2021, the world looked on as the U.S. capitol building in Washington DC was invaded… the day when the outcome of the U.S. Presidential election was to be formally certified, with an upcoming Biden-Harris administration.

Pres Trump supporters vandalized the capitol building, chanted for the hanging of Vice President Pence, and attacked democracy itself. All this after Trump gave a speech that focused on falsely claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him.

The Chief Executive of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Melanie Benjamin, had this response in a recent Band update:

Chief Exec Melanie Benjamin: As insurgents prompted by the outgoing president storm the National Capitol in a failed attempt to overturn the election. Wow, well, we all expected the end result to be a peaceful transfer of power on January 20th.

This event shows the importance of being involved in the political process and as a sovereign American tribe, we know that violence is never the answer.

REPORTER: Chief Executive Melanie Benjamin gives her regards to the upcoming Biden-Harris administration

Chief Exec Melanie Benjamin:… so that there is a smooth transition. And we as tribal governments across this nation, that we have a good working relationship with the new administration. And that's what I look forward to.

REPORTER: The National Congress of American Indians released their own response, a part of which read:

“As leaders of our own tribal nations, we understand the sacred duty undertaken by those chosen to serve their people to uphold the rule of law and the will of the people. Above all else, we value the sanctity of life. No nation should tolerate a leader who obstructs or brings harm to the peaceful democratic process and the citizens we are sworn to protect.”

REPORTER: The statement goes on to commend Congress for resuming their work and accepting the certification of the free and fair election of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.

For MN Native News, I’m Leah Lemm.

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