Here’s How Hawaiian Indigenous Groups Are Using $ 38 Million In Federal Funds

“This year, we were able to secure additional funding, which means these clinics will have the resources to help even more people connect with their doctors and get the health care they need,” said the Senator Brian Schatz. said in a press release.

According to Papa Ola Lokahi’s communications manager, Kim Birnie, ARPA funds are allocated for the next two years and are to be used only for Native Hawaiians in Hawaii.

“Some people contact us saying, ‘Can the money go for this? Where? Where can I request it? ‘ But Birnie said their ARPA money has a very specific goal of increasing vaccines, the COVID-19 response and treatment capacity, keeping health services accessible, and providing education and services.

POL Director Sheri Daniels said their $ 4.5 million grant will be distributed across the islands, of which approximately $ 3.4 million will go to 14 indigenous Hawaiian community partners. health organizations.

“None of those funds stayed in POL, they all went into the community,” Daniels said, noting that they created and continue to manage the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander. Hawaii Covid-19 Team.

She explained that many recent POL efforts have focused on collecting data to help with future planning and community education through public service announcements, social media infographics. and awareness events.

She said the rest of the money from their grant will go to mobile units to bring vaccines to communities and expand access to healthcare in the future.

However, despite the increased funds and efforts, some community members say their needs are not being met. The Westside of Oahu, which has the largest native Hawaiian population on the island, reported 2,259 cases in the last 14 days, about one-fifth of the state’s total. The DOH reported that about 40% of the state’s native Hawaiians have started inoculation.

Lynette Cruz, a resident of Waianae and a professor at Leeward Community College, said it was difficult to navigate online dating systems, especially for her community.

Initially, she did not want to be vaccinated against Covid, but changed her mind at the end of July when she entered Longs Drugs and noticed their vaccination clinic. Cruz stated that they told her that she could get the vaccine without an appointment, and that LCC having decided to organize classes in person, she decided to do so.

“I have a kuleana to make sure I don’t make anyone else sick, so I took it,” she said.

The Leeward Community College campus in Waianae requires all students, faculty, staff and visitors to show proof of vaccination or weekly negative Covid tests. Ku’u Kauanoe / Civil Beat

But Cruz said more could be done to increase vaccination. She explained that residents of Waianae have felt neglected for decades, developing resentment towards government officials and agencies.

For example, people who give Covid injections should be from local communities, she said. And instead of holding pop-up events for a few hours on weekends, immunization clinics should routinely show up at local grocery stores and gas stations.

“Everyone does the grocery shopping,” she said. Cruz added that small incentives such as grocery or gas station gift cards that people could use immediately after their shot or give to friends or family would also help – like the lieutenant governor. Josh Green’s proposal for a $ 50 food card that was never implemented.

On Friday, residents of Waianae surpassed their stagnant vaccination rate, hitting the 35% mark. State Department of Health epidemiologist Josh Quint says the state faces a potential plateau.

“Anything can happen tomorrow,” he said. “We don’t know the shape of this curve and if you look at the historical surges that have occurred, there are fluctuations.”

However, no matter how people change the messages about vaccines and community efforts on the ground, some people don’t see this vaccine as part of their future.

For community activist and healer Laulani Teale, getting the coronavirus vaccine doesn’t follow her steadfast personal cultural guideline, but she said she doesn’t force it on others. Throughout the pandemic, Teale has helped people in her community make appointments, transported them to vaccination clinics, and monitored children for people who experience side effects after vaccination.

Laulani Teale, coordinator of the Hoopae Pono peace project, testifies before the Justice and Labor Committee during the hearing on 3.19.14.  © PF Bentley / Civil Beat
Laulani Teale, coordinator of the Hoopae Pono Peace Project, is a longtime activist and healer. PF Bentley / Civil Beat

“Pono is based on very deeply held principles that come from ancestral teachings, my cultural background and many other things.”

Teale was inspired by the late Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell to earn her Masters in Community Health Education and Development at the University of Hawaii. Blaisdell has researched self-determination as a component of health. Teale therefore continues in his footsteps by combining his university studies with traditional laau lapaau healing practices.

The community is in desperate need of more culturally competent local health professionals – people who offer genuine respect, understanding and genuine informed consent, she said, criticizing the official post on Covid as being confusing.

Laulani teale
Laulani Teale created this coin symbolizing different types of healing that were passed down from her ancestors. Laulani teale

For Teale, a simple step toward improving community health would require everyone working in health to study Native Hawaiian culture to understand how to best meet the needs of the community.

“It doesn’t mean having a Hawaiian name for your program, which in some cases is direct cultural appropriation. It doesn’t mean having Hawaiian designs on the wall, you know, to create a ‘sense of belonging,’ which just plain wrong, “she said.” It really means understanding where people are coming from. . “

Chantelle Matagi, DOH’s chief contact tracing researcher, agreed with Teale and said teams were trying to improve their outreach to the community by separating politics from their messages about testing and vaccination.

“We are dealing with a legacy of colonial mistrust – with trauma – and how do we address it in a way that does not perpetuate that legacy? But (one) who creates trust and then heals these wounds,” she said. declared. noted.

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