BILLINGS — The WNV COVID-19 Relief Fund has been established in a partnerships between Western Native Voice and We Are Montana to help respond to the urgent requests from Native leaders for resources to support their communities, protect elders, and ensure front line workers have the protection and supplies they need. PPE, water, cleaning supplies, food and medication delivery support for elders and the immunocompromised, and educational tools are all needed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through Montana’s Tribal Nations. Native communities have strong social support systems but face critical health concerns such as high rates of diabetes, heart disease, respiratory illnesses, and other conditions, and are therefore more vulnerable to severe cases of COVID-19.
“As we witness the outbreak among our brothers and sisters on Navajo Nation, we are reminded of the importance of keeping our communities safe here in Montana. Incidence is low now, but as the state begins to open up, we face real risks. Pre-pandemic challenges in accessing everyday necessities on reservations in Montana have been seriously exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations to this fund allow us to purchase and immediately distribute critical supplies - from protective equipment to food and necessities - to our communities. Many families live in intergenerational homes, and your support also helps protect our elders, the holders of sacred cultural knowledge.” - Marci McLean, Executive Director of Western Native Voice
A Covid-19 Community Needs Assessment form is available on www.westernnativevoice.org. Community members are encouraged to fill out this form. The responses from this form will determine where mutual aid is needed in each community. All contributions will be directly donated to meet immediate public health needs among all tribal communities in Montana.
Western Native Voice is a non-profit, non-partisan social justice organization working to inspire Native leadership through community organizing, education, leadership, and advocacy. With 7 percent of Montana’s population being Native American living almost evenly split between reservation and urban areas, WNV organizes in both rural and urban communities using a culturally tailored community organizing and citizen education model to build Native leadership.