Aho, Ponka mohshay, Wohnghee thay,
As our people become more and more inundated with news and updates on the Covid19 virus, I’m sure many of you are concerned of the unknown and what’s next. As far as it relates to our tribal nation, Tribal Council and staff have been addressing this situation for some time. Our Health staff have been closely monitoring this issue for weeks. Our new health CEO, Dr. Matt Matusiak, has done an excellent job, along with our health administrative team, in working on processes to implement across the tribe for the continued health and safety of our employees and our tribal citizens. The health and wellness of our people is of utmost importance and priority.
Added to our concerns in this time of uncertainty is the fact that our tribal service delivery areas are spread out over 15 counties in 3 states. We have several unique areas spread across these areas. All need the unique attention they deserve. Our staff is working with all 3 state health organizations and all counties that our service delivery areas are in. We are in constant contact with IHS and we continue to monitor the CDC updates and recommendations for best practices on how we may best help ourselves. These notifications will continue to be shared via the tribe’s social media platforms to help provide you the most up to date information we can. Not forgotten are our tribal members nationwide. If there is information that is needed, or concerns that the tribe may be helpful in addressing, please do not hesitate in reaching out.
While we are doing everything we can to help at this time, your understanding is asked for in knowing that we just may not be able to prevent occurrences from happening. Again, we will remain committed to protecting our people the absolute best that we can.
In this time, I call on each of us to help each other. Check on those who are most at risk—our elders. Let’s help make sure they have what they need to prevent their exposure. Reach out to those who may be in need to see that they have what they need. If there is a physical need, please let our programs know so that we may try to help. Let’s remember the guidance and wisdom of our ancestors, their teachings on our medicines that helped us in times of struggle. The healing benefits and usage of cedar and sage among our people is well documented. As we pray for continued strength, courage and guidance–let’s smudge ourselves and each other.
My prayers to each of you, our tribal nation and all nations.
Larry Wright Jr.
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska
What to do if you are ill, or believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19:
- Call your healthcare provider BEFORE going in for an appointment.
- Call the Ponca Health Services Public Health Nurse Line at 402-649-2568 or 402-738-3157 for screening and assistance.
- Notify Ponca Health Services CEO Matt Matusiak at 402.405.3875 and your county health department.