FHBC Vice-Chairwoman Marlene Skunkcap
By DANA HERNANDEZ
FORT HALL — FHBC Vice-Chairwoman Marlene Skunkcap said she decided to go on the Tribes’ Facebook live video session on March 25 because she wanted to share her COVID-19 story and to also encourage everyone to still get tested for COVID-19 and to get vaccinated.
Skunkcap said many people are still not wanting to take the vaccine. Personally, she has been hesitant to even get a flu shot because back then they used a live strain of the virus and she stated that she didn’t want that in her body. A couple of years ago during a visit at the clinic she shared her vaccine worries with the nurse and that’s when she found out the flu vaccines don’t contain the live virus anymore.
Since reading up on the new COVID-19 vaccines, Skunkcap said she is changing her outlook on vaccines because the COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any live strains of the virus.
Originally, Skunkcap said she was planning to attend one of the mass vaccination events, but she ended up testing positive for COVID-19 during her routine testing. She said she didn’t feel sick and did not have any symptoms and wanted to be retested. Skunkcap said, “I didn’t have no headaches, muscle aches, fever, or chills, but during day three, as I was getting ready for bed, I felt like I couldn’t breathe and was gasping for air.” Skunkcap had to be admitted into the hospital due to a low oxygen level, and said that was still her only symptom.
Being in the hospital for 13 days was hard for Skunkcap and she said she became lonely and anxious to get out. “I was isolated at home and in the hospital, I had my own room and would only see the nurses. I had a phone, but still not seeing family was hard,” said Skunkcap. Luckily, she was the only one in her family who tested positive for COVID-19, which was mainly because of her self-isolating and wearing a mask. Protecting herself and her family was her main concern.
Coming back home after COVID-19 wasn’t easy. She was still required to self-isolate and use an oxygen tank. Skunkcap said, “I had a lot of time alone and had time to think, I was just grateful I was able to be home and wasn’t sent to a home-health facility because that’s what was happening to a lot of people who had oxygen issues.” She said doing exercises has helped bring her oxygen levels up and has now been free of using oxygen for a few weeks.
Overall, she is thankful she made it this far and that her experience wasn’t worse and that her whole family wasn’t affected. I am thankful the Tribes’ have the testing available and that the National Guard is here to help assist. The good thing about testing is that they’re catching people early and it puts a damper on the spread and that’s what it is all about is that we don’t want it to continue to spread.
With the vaccine, Skunkcap said she kept thinking, “darn it, why didn’t I get vaccinated when I could have.” I just really believe that people need to get vaccinated. The effects of the vaccine is an overnight thing and I wish I could have done that instead of going through what I went through with COVID-19 and that is why I changed my mind about receiving the vaccine,” said Skunkcap. She said as soon as she is available to receive the vaccine she will. Since contracting COVID-19, she has to follow a wait period until receiving it.
Skunkcap also said the FHBC still has a mask mandate, and they have collectively decided they will not allow any type of event that brings people together because gatherings are the main cause for the rise of COVID-19 cases. “At this point we have decided not to have an annual meeting due to our COVID-19 numbers fluctuating, up and down. We don’t want to have a big gathering,” said Skunkcap. The same goes with the Festival, “if we can’t get at least 70% of our people vaccinated by May, then it won’t happen.”
By ROSELYNN YAZZIE
FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Planning — THOP/CDFI Program received a grant from First Nations Development Institute to assist tribal members during the pandemic, which will be used for a one-time only assistance for a $100 food card to Winco.
Those who are eligible are Shoshone-Bannock tribal members, with preferences for elders 62 and older; homeless and unemployed; and those with families and children (only if your job was impacted by the pandemic). One card available per household.
Non-eligible are those full-time employed, and those who receive food assistance, like SNAP.
Applicants can pick up an application at the Planning office located in the Property Building 82 at the east side of the parking lot. Please bring a tribal ID. For further questions please call 208-478-3912, 208-478-3936, or 208-478-3938.
Fort Hall Business Council Chairman Devon Boyer thanked First Nations Development Institute President/CEO Michael E. Roberts in a letter for the financial support in the amount of $15,000 for general operation support to respond to COVID-19 emergency efforts.
“Thanks to your generous support we will be able to assist 150 of our most vulnerable Shoshone-Bannock Tribal Member families with food insecurity. We sincerely appreciate your continued partnership and although reporting is not a required component of this monetary grant donation we will provide First Nations Development Institute with a full report of services when completed,” Boyer said.