Montana Public Radio

Fort Peck Reservation

As Montana sees a surge in COVID-19 cases, medical facilities, particularly within tribal nations, are being pushed to their limits.

Kaci Wallette is a nurse at the Poplar Community Hospital, a facility in northeast Montana, where a full staff consists of three nurses and three certified nursing assistants.

Montana state health officials flagged six counties Wednesday as areas of significant COVID-19 growth. A hotspot in northeast Montana is grappling to get its case number under control.

Roosevelt County together with Cascade, Flathead, Gallatin, Missoula and Yellowstone Counties, represent sixty-five percent of new reported cases of COVID-19 according to state health officials.

The Mission Mountains loom over farm fields and a barn on the Flathead Indian Reservatio in northwest Montana.
Aaron Bolton

About three quarters of Montanans have broadband access. But that access is less prevalent in rural parts of Montana, which are home to the state’s seven Indian reservations. Federal coronavirus relief funding is helping some tribes to build their own wireless broadband networks, shrinking the stark digital divide on reservations.

Montana Rodeo Goes On, Bucking Fears On Fort Peck Reservation

Jul 17, 2020
Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede rodeo contestants got a temperature check before entering the arena and were not allowed to cross over to the fans’ side of the stadium.
Katheryn Houghton for Kaiser Health News

WOLF POINT, Mont. — Cowboys lined the metal chutes that released bucking horses and their riders into the arena, Miss Rodeo Montana signed autographs for fans, and coronavirus warning signs ended with “Face mask usage is of personal choice.”

Most of the rodeo riders and audience at the Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede appeared to skip masks, despite public health recommendations and increasing pressure to stem the spread of COVID-19 cases spiking across Montana and much of the U.S.

Eleven bull bison quarantined in a federal facility near Yellowstone National Park were transferred to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation on June 24. There, they’ll complete the final phase of a program to make sure they are disease free before being sent out to start or boost herds across the U.S.

A Canadian company’s announcement this week that it plans to move forward with construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline in northern Montana has nearby Native American tribes and some locals concerned that the flow of workers could carry the novel coronavirus into a community with limited health care resources.

Lack Of Money Could Close Montana Warming Shelters
iStock

An organization that runs warming centers for people experiencing homelessness in Bozeman and Livingston says it needs thousands of dollars in community donations, or they may have to close their doors during winter.

  

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is hosting training sessions in Montana this week for indigenous communities about how to enter missing persons cases into a public database. Some people involved in the MMIP movement say that entries aren’t the problem. The database is.

 

In an earlier report we mistakenly identified the age of a recently elected Fort Peck tribal executive board member.  Alexander Smith is actually younger than 24, making his recent election to the tribal executive board a record-breaking win.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced it’s awarding four tribal governments in Montana a collective $2.9 million to improve public safety efforts.

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