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

From urban campuses to reservations, Native American students feel COVID-19's reach


September 28, 2020

Johnny Talawyma and Shannon Birdinground pose for a picture outside of the MSU Billings Native American Achievement Center on Thursday. MIKE CLARK, Billings Gazette

Johnny Talawyma was ready to stride across the stage to receive his bachelors degree diploma last spring.

It's been a long journey for the 38-year-old Montana State University Billings student who grew up on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. He wanted a chance not only to celebrate himself, but to set an example for younger people in his tribe.

COVID-19 changed that, like it has so many other things. Graduation seems almost distant now for Talawyma. His uncle died after contracting COVID-19. Other relatives battled severe symptoms. Talawyma himself contracted the disease and recovered.


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