Each day there are community members and programs all across the Great Plains who are living a life that exemplifies what it means to “Be a good relative”. This Tribal-spotlight series will provide a platform to recognize the everyday work of community members who are stepping up for others.
Good Relatives being highlighted this month include:
Sara DeCoteau – Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Health Director
Petra Harmon One Hawk – Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Title VI: Nutrition for the Elderly/Caregiver Support program
Rikki Schad – Oyate Health Center Deputy Director of Clinical Operations
L.T. Traversie – Oyate Health Center Custodial Worker
Please scroll to read about each nominee
Serving as the Tribal Health Director for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, Sara DeCoteau goes above and beyond the regular call of duty. She “pours her heart into her work to benefit SWO tribal citizens. She is passionate about the work that she does and is always responsive to the needs of the community,” said an individual who works with her. Tribal Health Directors are often the point person for much of the pandemic response from tribal-nation. Their duties include everything from working directly with community members to providing input on how their specific tribal government will respond to COVID-19. Sara’s work on behalf of her people has displayed all the characteristics of a Good Relative.
Petra Harmon One Hawk
As Director of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s Title VI: Nutrition for the Elderly/Caregiver Support program, Petra Harmon One Hawk helps improve her community’s health and well-being every day. The COVID-19 pandemic has created opportunities for healthcare superheroes to emerge. Petra did just that as she played a vital role in acquiring essential Personal Protective Equipment to frontline workers in her community and beyond. Her work helped keep frontline workers and their families safe from COVID-19. She is a “Good Relative.”
For many nurses, COVID-19 provided a gut-check that tested the capacity for how much an individual could serve. For nurses like the Oyate Health Center’s Rikki Schad, the extra demands and tribulations that came with responding to a global pandemic were taken in-stride.
“Rikki has served the Oyate Health Center community with great heroism and selflessness. She has had many 14-hour days when she has spent time away from her family and friends to ensure that our relatives receive care. She has been vital to everything we have accomplished at the Oyate Health Center,” said one administrator.
Rikki helped the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board and the Oyate Health Center establish and maintain an Alternative Care Site for COVID-19 patients, played a vital role in meeting community requests for testing, and has spearheaded an effort to develop free testing for the Rapid City community.
Loren "LT" Traversie
The frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic are not only occupied by doctors and nurses, but by the support staff that assures our healthcare facilities remain clean, sanitary, and free of the virus. As the COVID-19 pandemic arrived on the Great Plains, it was the maintenance and custodial staff at many healthcare sites who were forced into action. The increased number of patients presenting with COVID-19 related symptoms proved the value of strong and competent custodial teams. At the Oyate Health Center, individuals like Loren “LT” Traversie were placed under immense pressure to keep up with the new challenges. “L.T. is the friendliest guy. Whenever we need something from him, he always responds and is a joy to work with,” said a nurse at OHC. “We appreciate everything they have done, and they do not get the credit they deserve.”
Nearly a year into the pandemic, the efforts of L.T. and other essential staff have helped the Oyate Health Center staff remain as healthy and safe as possible.