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California has experienced many crises this past year. In each instance, tribal governments in California have stepped up to these crises by providing services and thoughtful solutions for citizens regardless if they are tribal members or not. 

Located in one of the most remote regions in California, the Karuk Tribe, whose traditional lands lie in remote northern California and include the three towns of Yreka, Happy Camp, and Orleans in Siskiyou County are one of these tribal governments responding to these crises through service to the surrounding community.

Providing emergency services during the 2020 forest fires, addressing housing shortages, and responding directly to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Karuk Tribe has overcome challenges through the compassion and resiliency of self-governance. 

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One of the only health care providers within 90-minute driving radius, the Karuk Tribal Clinic has been the sole health provider to Karuk tribal members and county residents for years. In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccination protocols, the Karuk Tribe is looking to utilize every dose of the vaccines that make it into the clinic doors.

“Everyone has the right to health care and we believe that anyone who would like to be vaccinated should have access to protect themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Karuk Tribal Chairman Russell (Buster) Attebery. 

At their most recent vaccination event, the Karuk Tribe partnered with the State of California COVID-19 Awareness for Native Communities and Vaccinate ALL 58 campaign to bring vaccines to a remote location after the tribe noticed low vaccination rates in some of the neighboring communities. 

Since December of 2020, the Karuk Tribe estimates that it has administered about one-fifth of the total vaccines in Siskiyou County that includes tribal members and those from the surrounding community.

Furthering the conversation on the positive impact of tribal governments across the country, the Karuk Tribe joins hundreds of tribal nations prioritizing the best interest for their citizens and the health and wellbeing for the surrounding local communities.  

You’re reading the first draft of history. 

November is  Native American Heritage Month in the United States. We feel like every month — and every day — is a reason for celebrating Native Americans and our heritage. That’s what we try to do here at Native News Online, with stories each day that celebrate, inform and uplift American Indian and Alaska Native people. Over the past year or so, we have been especially busy with three important reporting projects that are having an impact across Indian Country:

  • Indian Boarding Schools. We’ve reported and published more than 150 stories and special live stream video events to help shine a light on the dark era of boarding schools — and help create momentum for change.
  • Native Health Desk. Launched in January, this reporting initiative was created to heighten awareness of Native American health inequities and spotlight pockets of progress in Indian Country. So far we’ve reported and published nearly 120 stories and launched a monthly health newsletter that reaches more than 23,000 readers.  
  • Native Bidaske. In March, we launched this live stream interview program to highlight the work of Native Americans who are making news and leading change in Indian Country.  We have hosted guests from the federal government and Native rights advocates as well as Indigenous actors, comedians, journalists and models.   

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