White Earth - Day 1 (Monday March 11)
by Bridget Curley
So after a day with the large group in Minneapolis and a day with the Bois Forte crew at the Fond du lac reservation, we are finally on our own. Our journey to White Earth began with a four hour, 200+ mile, drive straight across the beautiful state of Minnesota. We saw the state motto "Land of 10,000 Lakes" put into full force. The scenery would fluctuate from a road tightly lined with snow covered trees to suddenly open up to look out upon an iced over lake and back again. We officially went from the eastern side of the United States to the western by crossing the Mississippi River, which at this far north is no wider than the Connecticut river back in Hanover NH. We've passed through multiple towns with populations no greater than 200 people and watched the sunset over the road that went straight off into the distance (see attached picture). So now we settle into the Shooting Star Casino for a couple of days of what are sure to be eye opening and inspirational days, off to the clinic tomorrow morning.
Bois Forte - Day 1
by Amy Chabitnoy
We have arrived in Bois Forte! The start to our spring break trip has been great. After four of us attended an alumni dinner Friday evening and meeting a bunch of amazing Dartmouth College and Medical School alum, our large group was reunited Saturday afternoon at the house of Tommy and Thea Woon in Minneapolis. Tommy and Thea graciously welcomed us into their house with a lovely meal and led us in a bit of meditation and self-reflection to prepare for the upcoming week. Immediately after eating at their house, we went to the house of Drs. Angie Erdrich and her husband Sandip Patel for what we had heard described as 'a feast'. A lot of work had been put into preparing the food that day, which included recipes from an upcoming cookbook of Angie's sister. To say the least, the food was delicious and we all ate enough to hold us over for the rest of the day, maybe even the week. After dinner, our large group once again parted ways as the Red Lake and Cass Lake groups left for their sites and the White Earth and Bois Forte groups left for Fond Du Lac. Today, we started the morning in Fond du Lac with a visit to the clinic. Waiting to greet us at the clinic was the head of the Behavioral Health Department, Bunny Jaakola. Bunny showed us around the clinic and provided us the opportunity to speak with several staff members and the clinic director. It was really amazing to start the week by seeing such an example of a beautiful clinic run by a very dedicated staff. I believe many of us were surprised by the number of services provided by the clinic, which included pharmacy, dental, optometry, behavioral health, primary care, and several adolescent behavioral programs. After the clinic, we spent the afternoon talking with school children at the Fond du Lac Ojibwe School. We gave several presentations: Bridget Curley and Rebecca Wang taught 6th graders about hearing and vision; Christian Rees, Bharat Maraj and Amy Chabitnoy taught cells to 7th and 8th graders, while Anne-Laure Dassier and Jisoo Kim talked about STDs and alcohol with the high school children. The afternoon was pleasantly spent at the school, where the children and teachers were thrilled to have visitors. After a quick trip to Duluth, and 30 minutes in the chocolate store, the tour groups separated and the Bois Forte group is now en route to our lodgings for the week at Fortune Bay Casino. Tomorrow we start our time here with a lunch trip to meet and speak with the tribal elders.