Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Northern Arapaho chair says tribal members were turned away from ER at pandemic's start


September 15, 2020

Emergency room staff at the SageWest hospital in Riverton allegedly turned away potential COVID-19 patients from the Wind River Indian Reservation at the start of the pandemic, Northern Arapaho Business Council Chairman Lee Spoonhunter told state lawmakers Monday, leaving tribal members to figure out their care on their own.

Spoonhunter said that tribal members seeking medical treatment were then driven away from the facility in the backs of sheriff's trucks and placed in the care of the Wind River Health Clinic, which had been treating patients at a transient camp on the tribe's grounds in Fort Washakie.

"That was very disturbing - that our tribal members had gone to the Riverton emergency room where they were wanting to be treated for being sick and then were told they needed to go to the transient camp, to the powwow grounds," Spoonhunter told committee members. "And then here comes the sheriff's office and they're put on the backs of trucks."


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