Keynotes Podcast: Our Work with The Mountain Ute Tribe
Last month we launched our podcast, Keynotes: Stories of Collective Impact, to share the stories of people coming together to develop long-lasting solutions to difficult policy obstacles. To kick off the podcast, we published a four-episode series about our work with the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe responding to COVID-19. Listen to that series below, where we discuss food access and developing a regional food collaborative, expanding access to mental health services, expanding access to broadband connectivity, and tribal sovereignty.
As COVID-19 infections began to rise in Colorado in the spring of 2020, the leadership of the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute Tribes instituted safety measures to protect its members—measures like curfews and limiting travel on and off the reservation. Those measures were effective at limiting the exposure of tribal members to the coronavirus, but it also made getting food even more difficult than it already was in this food desert region of the country. In the first episode of a four-part series examining the COVID-19 response effort in Southwest Colorado, the Keystone Policy Center highlights how the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute Tribes created a food distribution system to meet the immediate food needs of its members during the COVID-19 pandemic – and the work that is being done to create a regional food distribution hub.
Mental health concerns for Americans have significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Elevated levels of adverse mental health conditions, substance use, and suicidal ideation were reported by adults in the United States in June 2020. The prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019, and prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019. In the second episode of a four-part series examining the COVID-19 response effort in Southwest Colorado, the Keystone Policy Center examines expanding access to mental health services in tribal and other rural communities.
The Colorado Broadband Office designates a significant portion of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation as an unserved area for internet service, which is defined as those areas that have download speeds of 5 megabits per second or fewer, or areas with no reported existing service at all. In a year that nearly every activity possible was moved online, the lack of access to broadband internet exacerbated inequities for tribal communities. In the third episode of our four-part series examining the COVID-19 response for tribes, learn about what tribal leaders in Southwest Colorado are doing to expand broadband access for their members.
Like the other topics so far in this series, we examine an issue that has been intensified by the COIVD-19 pandemic: that being the collaboration, or sometimes lack thereof, among the sovereign governments at the tribal, state, and federal levels. Specifically, we why it is so crucial that governments work together, respecting each other’s rights and jurisdiction, to serve their members and constituents. In this final episode of our four-part series on Keystone’s COVID-19 response effort with tribes, we discuss how the pandemic has either exposed the underlying flaws or amplified the strengths in government-to-government relationships and explain how leaders can work together to strengthen those relationships to make real impact.
Click here to listen to other episodes of the Keynotes Podcast.