Yellow Bird: Indian people take care of their own
"For my “Prairie Voices” interview feature that will appear on the Sunday Herald's Insight page, I spoke with Dr. Monica Mayer, a physician in private practice at the Trinity Community Clinic in New Town, N.D. I did so because she and I had previously talked about the astounding number of patients she has who have diabetes or are alcoholic on Indian reservations, especially the Fort Berthold Reservation, where she works.

Mayer has contributed hours and hours of her time toward ridding the community of diabetes and alcoholism. Her mother and my childhood friend, Avis, is a victim of diabetes.

Mayer also has taken aim at alcoholism, which she calls the scourge of Indian reservations. The statistics might be pushing against the top scale of the alcohol abuse charts, too. Combined, these diseases keep the doors of Trinity Community Clinic and the Indian Health clinic in New Town swinging so fast that the health care providers sometimes are left exhausted and frustrated, she told me.

Mayer has taken some hardcore users and handled them with threats and challenges, but she always combines this “tough love” with kindness and nurturing.

It is amazing how many young professionals there are on or near reservations today. I believe the Three Affiliated Tribes have about five doctors who are members of the tribe and who work on or near the area. We have many, many more nurses - some with masters' degrees.

Mayer is an example of those health professionals we are seeing more and more of on Indian reservations. They are our people taking care of their own."

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: An Indian doctor comes home (The Grand Forks Herald 11/17)
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