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New series from The Modern West podcast - "Shall Furnish Medicine"

Virus in Indian Country.jpg

Reservations have been some of the hardest-hit communities in the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, this all feels sort of familiar...the arrival of a terrible illness that kills elders while the federal government does little to stop it.

In a three-part series, Shall Furnish Medicine, The Modern West podcast will explore that devastating history from the beginning. How, from the arrival of the Pilgrims in 1618, European colonizers pushed inland and pandemic after pandemic struck Indigenous communities. Treaty agreements made grand promises to "furnish medicine and physicians", then broke them. Indian Health Services belatedly opened clinics but they were severely underfunded and understaffed.

Yet in the last few years, many tribes have begun taking over these clinics. So, when the COVID-19 virus arrived, a movement to claim tribal sovereignty was already well underway. While other local governments floundered, tribes quickly got organized: they tested, they contact traced, even shut down their borders entirely.

Savannah Maher and Taylar Stagner both grew up in Indigenous communities and tell this fascinating history through personal perspectives. Host Melodie Edwards is a long-time beat reporter working on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. This reporting was funded in part through the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, allowing the podcast to hire Indigenous artists and musicians as well.

The new season, Shall Furnish Medicine, is out now and releases new episodes every two weeks. The Modern West is available for download on all major podcasts apps and can be streamed at themodernwest.org.

Find The Modern West on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ModernWestPod. Melodie Edwards is available for interviews and can be reached at Medward9@uwyo.edu.

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