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Little Shell Chippewa Tribe opens clinic in Great Falls

A bison stands over a field of yellow. An arm wearing a blue sleeve adorned with features holds a hoop over the bison's head. A glad with a gold fleur de lis over red, and a green shamrock waves over his rump.
Seal of the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians of Montana

The Little Shell Chippewa Tribe has opened a new medical clinic in Great Falls.

The clinic will be run by the federal Indian Health Service with plans for the tribe to take over in a few years.

Tribal Health director Molly Wendland says opening a clinic was one of the Little Shell Chippewa’s first priorities after becoming federally recognized in 2019.

“It was really important for our council to find a way to take care of our members,” she said.

Wendland says one of the tribe's greatest challenges in providing health care is that they do not have a reservation.

“We have a service area, which is Glacier Hill, Blaine, and Cascade County, but our members are spread throughout the United States,” she said.

The clinic will include a dozen exam rooms, and there are plans to provide other medical services like dental care, behavioral health, and radiology.

Taylar Stagner is Yellowstone Public Radio's report for America Indigenous affairs reporter.

Taylar Stagner covers tribal affairs for Yellowstone Public Radio.