All posts by Shannon Mitchell

April MNT Available

Please read the April Meskwaki Nation Times available now.

It includes the latest information regarding this month’s programming and recaps some of the events that occurred in our community over the last month.

As we shelter in place, may we remember and show our loved ones how much we care by staying home and taking care of ourselves.

Blessings and good wishes sent your way while we all stay home and stay safe!…/1RGF-wmMoDAtRzcqlEOTQZFMZa…/view…

Tribal Entities Closed until April 20th

Tribal Council met in special session today and determined that the Shelter In Place Declaration will stay.  All Tribal entities will remain closed until Monday, April 20th. The council will review this as more information and details come into place as to the extent of the spread of the corona virus both on the settlement and in the state. Staff will continue to be paid.


From Health Director Rudy Papakee:

As of March 31, there are 11 positive cases within Tama County. This number will continue to increase as more testing becomes available. The good news is that all of the Natives who tested positive to date, are recovering. While Iowa has not peaked with cases across the state, the effects of closures and social distancing has still yet to be felt. However, with symptoms of COVID-19 taking 2 – 14 days to manifest, from a public health standpoint we are hoping to start seeing the results of prevention efforts paying off over the next couple of weeks.

These prevention efforts are still needed from all of you reading this. Continue social distancing, do not visit others in their home, don’t allow people into your home, practice good cough and sneeze etiquette, and by all means, stay home if you are sick. I know this may sound like a broken record but with no vaccine or a cure for the disease, these steps are necessary to ensure we minimize those infected. With no timeline projected, your efforts will be rewarded when life can return to normal.

Information changes daily on the virus and while there is no cure, I am sure some of you have read or even heard from the President that hydroxycholorquine (HCQ) and azithromycin are a potential cure. The FDA recently announced the emergency use of the drugs even though this is an unproven treatment. Patrick Bolte, Meskwaki Chief Pharmacist, in an email stated, “ Limited data showing either drug works and both are on national shortage. Grinnell was told not to use azithromycin because it was not showing efficacy (it shouldn’t because COVID is a virus and azithromycin doesn’t treat viruses). HCQ is restricted to admitted patients that 1) have a +CT scan, +fever and require oxygen or 2) +COVID test, +fever and require oxygen.” Dr. Frost, Meskwaki Medical Director, in a follow up email stated, “ I have not received any supporting memos from CDC or WHO regarding these treatments in the outpatient setting.” With this information the Meskwaki Clinic will not be prescribing either medication for anyone who tests positive within our facility. If additional information comes forward that supports the use, the Clinic will reevaluate their protocols.

Finally, I want to thank all of you who continue to abide by the shelter in place initiative and those following the social distancing protocols. I know this isn’t easy as we are a social group already. But we as a community have the ability to stop the virus from infecting others but we must remain diligent in our daily activities.

Real time updates are provided through Facebook on both the SETT and KSETT pages and on our website at Please watch for updates as they become available.

Health Clinic Updates 3.30.20

There are now currently 10 confirmed cases in Tama County (see chart below for state information as of today). 7 of those belong to Natives of, and around the community. We have many more presumed positives due to direct exposure or people showing some but not all of the symptoms. With direct exposure (you had direct contact someone who tested positive) or even a presumed positive, the recommendations are still the same: STAY HOME, NO VISITORS, TRY TO ISOLATE FROM THOSE LIVING IN THE HOME IF POSSIBLE.
I have received many messages and calls throughout this duration. I am glad people are asking before assuming an answer. I would like to touch base on the testing protocols of the Health Clinic. We cannot test everyone. We have limited tests available. 12 tests available as of today. Our tests are sent to Lab Corp where the results are taking 10 – 14 days to be returned. By the time the results come back, most people are on the mend and feeling better. Again, with or without testing, recommendations above still apply. We are currently evaluating protocols for use of a new lab that would provide results in 2 days. Will provide updates if/when this becomes available.
While cases are beginning to spike in Iowa, one thing to remember as that due to the onset of symptoms, those who are sick are a most likely a result from many businesses still being open 2 weeks ago. The state and the Tribe took steps beginning on March 18 by closing up. With symptoms showing up from 2 – 14 days, it is safe to say the virus was obtained beyond the boundaries of the Settlement which resulted in recent sicknesses. Some with minor symptoms while others have ended up in the hospital. These reasons are some of the logic behind the shelter in place orders. No other community except ours has proclaimed such measures. It is business as usual for everywhere else in the state. This is why it is so important for people to stay home except for essential needs, especially if they feel any symptoms. If we are to stop the spread amongst ourselves, we have to quit visiting people and maintain social distancing. Quit babysitting for people who are not working, quit visiting friends and family. If it is not your place of residence, stay out of it.
There is a Tribal Council meeting scheduled for 03.31.20 at 4pm via phone call. I am going to make the recommendation to Tribal Council for Tribal Operations to remain closed for the same duration as the school and Casino with shelter in place orders remaining active. With no clear indication if Governor Reynolds will continue the closures beyond the 17th, I believe this will provide the Tribe adequate time to make future decisions as it pertains to Tribal business.
Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.
~ Rudy Papakee, Health Services Director

April Per Cap Distribution

Attention Tribal Members: April’s per cap will be mailed out to anyone receiving a paper check on April 8th. Due to the COVID-19 emergency declaration, checks will NOT be available for pick up at the Tribal Center.

**Please ensure that a current address is on file with the Finance Office. If you need to up-date your address before then, please call the Tribal Center at (641) 484-4678.

Due to the positive tests of Coronavirus on the Settlement, Tribal Council has declared an Emergency Declaration that all individuals residing on the Settlement shall shelter in place and not leave their homes unless going to and from grocery stores, pharmacies, or the Meskwaki Health Clinic and that all gatherings and events of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues on the Settlement. The Settlement is closed to outside visitors until further notice.

Emergency Declaration From Tribal Council

Due to the reported worldwide outbreak of thousands of cases of Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), multiple cases confirmed in Iowa, and positive tests of community transmission on the Meskwaki Settlement, the Meskwaki Tribal Council has declared an Emergency Declaration.

Tribal Council hereby determines and directs that all individuals residing on the Settlement shall shelter in place and shall not leave their homes unless going to and from grocery stores, pharmacies, or the Meskwaki Health Clinic effective March 21, 2020; and that all social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people are hereby prohibited at all locations and venues on the Meskwaki Settlement; and close the Meskwaki Settlement to outside visitors.

Please see Resolution 11-2020 in its entirety adopted on March 21, 2020 for complete details.

Meskwaki Health Clinic Patient Receives Positive COVID-19 Test

Attention Meskwaki Community:
The Meskwaki Health Clinic has received a positive test result for COVID-19. The individual does not reside on the Settlement but is an employee of the Health Clinic. Direct exposure to the public was limited to 4 patients. The Clinic already notified the individuals who came into direct contact with the employee. If you did not receive a call this morning, you were NOT exposed. Patients have been advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Please know you do NOT need to be tested unless you had direct contact with someone who has tested positive AND have symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing). Treatment is based on your symptoms and testing will not change your medical treatment.
The Health Clinic will continue to monitor and report to the community as any new information becomes available.
Please continue to practice social distancing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and good hand washing. Avoid visiting friends and family. Please check on others through telephone, text, or social media.
Please look to here for future updates.
Thank you,
Rudy Papakee
Health Director

Temporary Closure of Meskwaki Tribal Operations

Meskwaki Settlement, Tama, Iowa – Out of an abundance of caution for our community members and employees, Tribal Council has approved the closure of Tribal Operations beginning on Wednesday, March 18th.  The closure will remain in effect until Friday, March 27th as of now and will be re-evaluated on Wednesday, March 25th to determine if closure should be extended.   For the benefit of the community, the Meskwaki Health Clinic, Behavioral Health Services (MADAC), the CHR Program, Pharmacy, and the Meskwaki Travel Plaza will remain open.


Judith Bender, Tribal Council Chairwoman stated, “To minimize exposure to infected individuals, it is up to every single community member to do their part. Profound and significant steps have been made to limit the spread of the coronavirus in our community.  Stay home and stay safe.”


Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel

Tribal efforts to slow the spread of the infection of the COVID-19 virus onto the Meskwaki Settlement began to go into effect with the closure of the Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel which temporarily closed for business on Tuesday, March 17th through Tuesday, April 14th.


Meskwaki Settlement School

Starting Thursday, March 19th the Meskwaki Settlement School, including offices, will be closed until at least April 13th.  However, the elementary and middle/high schools will be open this Wednesday, March 18th from 2-6pm to allow students to retrieve essential items (like medication, laptops, etc.).  If you need to get your child’s medication, an authorized adult MUST sign for it.  It cannot be given to children.  We are in the process of sanitizing our buildings, so access should be quick and targeted to retrieve only the items you need.  Communication regarding academic support will be sent home from the school later today.  Families may utilize the email directory located on the school’s webpage to connect with staff during the closing.


Staff Compensation

During the temporary closure, all employees will be compensated with base pay rates and benefits.  Staff are implored to stay at home, practice social distancing, and avoid social gatherings of groups of more than 10 people.  To assist enrolled members and their descendants during the closure, food, and health assistance will be available including:


Senior Meals

The Senior Center will provide lunch through home meal delivery each weekday.  Seniors who would like a meal should call the center at (641) 484-9222 before 10 AM for delivery.


Children Curbside Grab-N-Go Meals

For three weeks starting on Monday, March 23rd, the Meskwaki Settlement School will provide lunch via pick-up at the elementary main entrance on weekdays (Monday-Friday) from 10am-12pm to enrolled and descendent children 18 and younger who attend either the Meskwaki Settlement School or South Tama Community School District.  There is NO need to sign up ahead of time, but please know the meals CAN ONLY BE PROVIDED TO THE CHILD. Regardless of the school your child attends, you may simply drive or walk up WITH YOUR CHILDREN (ages 18 and younger) to the elementary school front entrances from 10-12pm and they will have a lunch available.


Meskwaki Health Services

The Meskwaki Health Clinic, the CHR Program, Pharmacy, and Behavioral Health Services will remain open normal business hours.  PLEASE CALL AHEAD FOR APPOINTMENTS AT (641) 484-4094.


Red Earth Gardens

Red Earth Gardens continues to have organic, farm fresh eggs, beans, and rosemary for sale at the Health Clinic.  Eggs are also available for purchase at the Meskwaki Travel Plaza.


Protection and Public Works

During the closure, emergency services will remain.  The Meskwaki Police Department will continue regular patrol hours and emergency Tribal Court Services will be scheduled accordingly.  Public Works will continue services as needed including snow removal and garbage pick-up.  For emergency Housing Department assistance contact Director Kent Scheid at (641) 481-0335.  For broadband/internet issues, contact (641) 481-0344 or (641) 481-5501 to leave a message.


“The most important thing we can do as a tribe,” stated Tribal Chairwoman Bender, “is to protect our most vulnerable, our children and our elders.  So please STAY HOME.  Be smart.  Pray with good energy.  Take care of yourself and keep panic in control.  Fear has a spirit, do not feed it.”


At this time, there are no known cases reported on the Settlement or in Tama County.  IF YOU EXPERIENCE SYMPTOMS, PLEASE CALL THE HEALTH CLINIC AT (641) 484-4094 FOR FURTHER GUIDANCE. For more information, contact Executive Director JoAnn Youngbear at (641) 484-4678.

Coronavirus Directive from Tribal Council

Meskwaki Settlement, Tama, Iowa – The World Health Organization recently released information characterizing the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic, applying the term for the first time to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. The Meskwaki Health Clinic and the Meskwaki Tribal Council continue to monitor the situation with updates from local public health agencies, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control coming daily.   In Iowa, local communities including the Meskwaki Nation prepare as the outbreak continues.


Tribal Council is encouraging tribal members, staff, and the community to remain informed, but calm, and to practice safe prevention, both for the coronavirus and the spread of contagions in general. 


At this time, there are no confirmed cases in Tama County or on the Meskwaki Settlement.   Tribal Operational Departments have been directed to take steps to incorporate additional preventative measures to adequately disinfect all office buildings and public spaces.  Additional proactive methods are being taken on-property, including offering extra hand sanitizer, and wiping down high-traffic surfaces more frequently.  Deep cleaning will continue until the outbreak is contained.  Council has also enacted a workforce travel ban for all tribal entities which will be in place until May or later.




Coronavirus is thought to be spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.  It may also be possible to get the virus by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, although this is not thought to be the main way the virus is spreading. At this time, there are no approved vaccines or mediations to treat coronavirus.  Symptoms include fever, a dry cough, difficulty breathing, and pneumonia.  See more by visiting:


The risk of serious illness due to COVID-19 is the highest for people who are older and have underlying medical conditions.  (People 60 and older accounted for more than 80% of the deaths in China, according to a major study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Because the U.S. outbreak is in its early stages there is not reliable data on the ages and other characteristics of infected patients so experts have relied on the analysis of patients in China.)



The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends staying at home when you are sick, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, cleaning objects that are touched often like doorknobs, countertops, phones, and appliances, covering your coughs or sneezes with a tissue, and frequent handwashing with soap and water. The US Department of Homeland Security also recommends avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and maintaining your wellness in other areas of your life, including staying active, managing stress, and getting enough sleep.


The CDC is encouraging older people and people with severe chronic medical conditions (heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes) to stay at home as much as possible.  Individuals at increased risk of severe illness should strongly consider staying home and avoiding gatherings or other situations of potential exposure, including travel.


To help minimize the spread of the coronavirus, Tribal Council recommends each person makes choices that are the best for his/her own personal health and safety.  These may include limiting visitors, maintaining distance from others (approximately 6 feet), limiting movement in the community, limiting personal travel, and staying home from large gatherings of more than 250 people.



  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Take everyday preventive actions.
  • Monitor local information including the tribal website at for the most up-to-date information.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc.
  • Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones).
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.


If you are sick with coronavirus or suspect you are infected, follow these steps:

  • Stay home except to get medical care. At this time, the Meskwaki Health Clinic is unable to test for the virus.  If you feel you have been exposed or are experiencing symptoms, call the clinic at (641) 484-4094.  Staff will help you to obtain an appointment at a testing facility.  This will help keep other people from getting exposed and/or infected.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home. Stay in a specific room and away from other people in your home.  Use a separate bathroom, if available.  Do not handle pets or other animals.
  • Wear a facemask – the Center for Disease Control recommends that only people who are sick or are in close proximity to sick people use masks. If you are not able to wear a mask, then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a facemask if they enter your room.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items – do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. Clean them often.
  • Cover your coughs, clean your hands often, and clean all “high-touch” surfaces.
  • Monitor your symptoms and seek medical attention if your illness is worsening.
  • Discontinue home isolation in consultation with the Meskwaki Health Clinic and/or your healthcare provider.
  • For more information:

Meskwaki Tribal Council in conjunction with the Meskwaki Health Clinic and Meskwaki Emergency Response has begun mitigation strategies to thwart the spread of the virus in our community to ensure the safety and social well-being of groups that may be especially impacted and/are at increased risk for severe illness.  As community members adapt to probable disruptions in routine activities due to the outbreak, Tribal Council recommends each member put a “household plan” into place to prepare in the event quarantine is necessary.


In the event that a community or home quarantine is necessary, be prepared.

  • If you don’t already have them on hand, consider purchasing a pain reliever such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol, stomach remedies like Tums or Pepto-Bismol, cough and cold medicines like Alka-Seltzer Cold Plus, Kleenex, and fluids with electrolytes like Gatorade. These will help alleviate symptoms should you be infected with the virus.
  • The CDC recommends collecting and maintaining your health records – contact the Health Clinic if you need a list of your current diagnoses and medications at (641) 484-4094.
  • Make sure you have a two week supply of any current medications on hand. Call the Meskwaki Pharmacy if you need prescriptions refilled at (641) 484-9451.
  • If a community quarantine is determined necessary: Have two weeks’ worth of food on hand.  It’s a good time to stock up on crackers, tuna, soup, rice, and beans.  Pet owners will want to make sure they have extra pet food on hand.
  • Extra Supplies – While the warnings about coronavirus should be taken seriously, it’s important to remain calm. At this time, the CDC is suggesting supply preparation for a two-week period of time.  Odds are that you already have the baseline of things you need at home.  Preparedness, in this case, is just getting a few little extra things to round it out.  Walmart and HyVee in Marshalltown both offer order ahead then pick-up options and on-line food delivery can be made through Amazon.
  • THINGS YOU DO NOT NEED: Masks – the CDC recommends that only people who are sick or are in close proximity to sick people use masks.

For now, all facilities including Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel, the Meskwaki Travel Plaza, the Meskwaki Settlement School, Tribal Center, Health Clinic, Pharmacy, and others will remain open.  Tribal Council, in conjunction with the Health Clinic and Meskwaki Emergency Response, will continue to be in contact with other local response partners to be ready for when/if the virus arrives on the Settlement.  If that happens, further information will be distributed and updated as the situation changes.


For the latest information, community members are encouraged to visit the website at and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at


If you think you have coronavirus, CALL THE MESKWAKI HEALTH CLINIC AT (641) 484-4094 for further direction and information.