Psychologist Billie Kipp on Native Americans’ COVID experience

As a clinical psychologist of 20 years and member of the Blackfeet Tribe, Billie Jo Kipp has a first hand view of how the Native American population experienced COVID and eventually, vaccination: “I thought everybody would say yes, yes, we want it. They weren't. They were very fearful. One of the government, two of the tribal government and three of the healthcare delivery system.”

 

“Pandemics haven't been a part of who we are. We've had smallpox, we've had measles. We've had things that were placed on us by mainstream society in order to kill us and wipe us out. So from my observation from teaching and knowing about historical trauma, I can see how that affects fear and our mistrust.”

 

They did change over time. I think there are some who still haven't been vaccinated at home, but I think they changed because they [saw] the, um, access and they [saw] the tribe kind of waiting in line to get the vaccine. And so I think that that really changed their mind.”

 

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Dr. Billie Jo Kipp is a clinical psychologist and member of the Blackfeet Tribe. She is the associate director for research and evaluation at the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute and resides in Seattle, WA.