Happy Indigenous Peoples’ Day!
The holiday caused a lot of coverage this week, with proclamations and press releases from the President on down. This week we cover the President’s words and the response of the Indigenous Environmental Network, which is demonstrating in Washington, D.C. as of this writing. This issue also carries a small introduction to the Pandora Papers, detailing the shelter of millions, possibly billions, of dollars in South Dakota.
Goings-on in the wider world are overlaid on the local news about a new fulltime Family Nurse Practitioner at IHS, Susan Baker, and a new math teacher at the E.A.G.L.E. Center, Cherry Rose Allanic.
What’s the connection? Believe it or not, there is one. Baker and Allanic, both women, serve in traditionally female roles and bring services to critically-underserved populations. Hospitals and schools on Tribal Nations are niche markets that attract professionals with passion, but the financial and career-advancement rewards are minimal. You have to love it here to work here.
What if the people of South Dakota derived some benefit from the monies of the ultra-rich stored in our state? How would healthcare and education transform?
A similar question can be asked about water and mineral resources. What if the people who lived here controlled the resources here? What different choices would be made about the financial and environmental resources in the ancestral lands of the Lakota/Nakota/Dakota people we now share?
In her reflection this week Granny Grace Terry gives us the thread to tie the week together: openness to transformation. Give yourself freedom to ask “What if…?” What kind of different realities would be imagined? What kind of change would happen?
Be open this week. And be careful. COVID is still very much a threat and there are plenty of unofficial reports of local breakthrough cases of the Delta variant. Remember, vaccination will prevent death and serious illness, but it can’t prevent the spread of coronavirus until we have a much higher percentage of fully vaccinated people. You need a mask for that!