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Indian Health Services Trip – Bois Forte Update


On Tuesday, we drove an hour from the Fortune Bay Casino in Vermillion to Nett Lake to have lunch at the Elderly Services Food Distribution Center. At the center, we ate a delicious meal of wild rice soup and fried bread that was made by two talented cooks. We also had a chance to speak with some elders from the tribe who eat lunch at the center five days a week. After lunch, we dropped off one elder, Kay Davis, in her assisted living home and had a chance to see the facility. In the afternoon, we took a tour of the newly built tribal council office and had a chance to speak to some council members. One tribal council member, David, showed us his collections of veteran memorabilia while another, Brandon, showed us some of his traditional dancing regalia. In the evening, we headed back to the casino, where we enjoyed a delicious meal of fried walleye and buffalo burgers.

2013-IHN-Bois-Forte2Today, on Wednesday, we woke up bright and early and drove back to Nett Lake to spend the day at the clinic. Amy, Bharat, and I split up and rotated between the clinic, the dentist's office, and the pharmacy. Over the course of the day, we had a variety of enriching experiences -- we learned about diabetes treatments in the pharmacy, watched tooth extractions and root canals at the dentist's office, and saw patients with a variety of symptoms ranging from elbow pain to cardiac failure in the clinic. During it all, we got a sense of how the Native American healthcare system works and how it differs from the healthcare system that we are used to. In addition, we had a great time speaking to the healthcare workers during some off time and to hear them share their experiences and their stories. In the evening, we ate dinner with Shawn O'Leary, his father, Kay Davis, and some other elders from tribe. Over dinner, Kay shared many interesting stories with us about her research on Native American genealogy, her travels around the world, and her opinions on current issues with the tribe.

-- Rebecca Wang