“We should have love for each other and not let our humanity be lost.
My heart goes out to everyone who lost someone.”
While last week’s COVID-19 memorial was a somber affair, Councilman Mark Pollock noted it was also a “celebration of lives well lived and well remembered.” The memorial services came on the heels of the Blackfeet Tribe’s closure for Veterans Day and again on Thursday, Nov. 12, in honor of the late former Councilman, Stan Juneau.
Five Councilmen were in attendance, as well as Robert DesRosier and KWebb Galbreath from Incident Command, several representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Father Ed Kohler from the Little Flower Parish.
The recent passing of Cynthia Kipp to COVID-19 prevented her son, Chairman Tim Davis, from attending. Councilman Pollock assumed emcee duties while James McNeely organized and directed the memorial services, which were aired on Starlink Cable and on Facebook Live.
Councilman Pollock began by offering condolences to the families of those lost to the disease so far and encouraged viewers to keep practicing the methods known to slow the spread of the virus. In the absence of Chairman Davis, Vice-Chair Scott Kipp addressed the people, noting that the actions taken thus far have been aimed at helping all the residents of the Blackfeet Reservation, members or not. He reiterated the theme advanced by all the speakers, urging folks to continue their vigilance in combating the disease.
“We’ve been thinking about everybody in the community,” Tribal Secretary Lauren Monroe said. “We should have love for each other and not let our humanity be lost. My heart goes out to everyone who lost someone.”
Councilman Virgil Last Star brought his personal experience to the table, saying that both he and his wife contracted the Coronavirus. “It’s something you don’t want to get,” he said. “It’s something else.” While he has recovered sufficiently to return to his job as a Councilman, his wife is still struggling against the disease.
“My message is simple,” said Councilman Marvin Weatherwax Jr. “Nothing is more valuable than our lives. Our numbers are down, and I hope to continue that trend, but every family has been impacted on the Reservation.”
“I am so very thankful that the CDC was able to come in and offer some guidance and direction, and I am proud of the Incident Command,” Pollock said. “When the initial CDC team came in and met with Incident Command, the Southern Piegan Health Center, IHS and everyone, it was such a blessing to me to hear from the CDC. They said, ‘You folks have done everything that you can. You have done things right, and we wish other communities across the nation would implement what you have done.’”
Finally, the ceremonies concluded with Councilman Pollock reading the names of all those lost to COVID-19. They are Leland Ground, Charles Tailfeathers, Shirley Gobert, Connie Hipp, George Bremner, Beverly Spotted Eagle, Michelle Dora Little Plume, Terry Morgan, Memory Whitegrass, Bobby Grant, Thomas Little Dog, Georganna Mad Plume, Ronny Kennedy, Stan Juneau, Carole Vielle, Elmer Trombley, Natissa Rider, Keith Running Crane Jr., Art Racine, Denise Racine, Delores Douglas, Rita LaPlant, Lyle Heavy Runner, Eula Little Bull, Mary Tailfeathers Belcourt, Robin Horn and Cynthia Kipp.