An original essay: Amidst dark times, resilience
Boozhoo Makade Giniw indishnikaaz, Makwa indodem, Gawaa-baabi-gaani-kaag indoonjibaa.
Hello my name is Curtis Rogers, and I am a citizen of the White Earth Nation.
I am a community service officer for the White Earth Public Safety Division. COVID-19 has drastically changed the lives of my people. My job is to be involved with the community and to help the community councils create a positive impact through various events and prevention-based activities.
As you can imagine, that has changed with all the restrictions we now have in place. I have been able to continue some aspects of my work, which includes dog rescue and working with community councils, albeit through a different lens.
The community councils on our reservation have been amazing during this time. They have been working nonstop to ensure that our families have everything they need, especially those that are high risk. I have worked with them to help create care packages for our elders, which included essential need items and traditional medicines. The community councils also helped distribute food to our families.
One of the biggest changes has been the cancellations and new regulations to our powwows. Typically, by this time of year, we would have been well into powwow season, which brings people from all over the country to our area to sing and dance and be a part of our beautiful ceremonies. Many of the powwows in our area have been canceled, and the annual White Earth powwow has been drastically altered to fit Covid guidelines.
I am also a part of a team that works to curve the drug epidemic on the reservation. We are usually able to host events to promote the services we offer here on the reservation and give out the overdose reversing medicine Narcan. We had gone quite some time without a fatal overdose on the reservation. Over the last couple of months, though, we have seen a spike of overdoses and multiple have been fatal. It is difficult to not feel like we could have maybe changed this. One thing that has not changed during these dark times has been the resilience of my people. We have survived boarding schools and removal from our lands. We have survived forced assimilation and genocide. We have survived and we will survive this. Miigwech.
About the author
Curtis E. Rogers is a community services officer with the White Earth Police Department in White Earth, Minn.
Indigenous VoicesThis video is part of the "Voices" portion of the "Indiginous Impacts" project. "Voices" features Native American community members as they discuss and write about personal and social effects of the coronavirus pandemic.