RAPID CITY – The Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board (GPTLHB), AT&T’s FirstNet Program, and the National Indian Health Board have partnered to distribute more than a quarter-million dollars’ worth of pandemic related supplies to tribal nations in the area.
“The pandemic has shined a light on the organizations willing to reach out to our tribal communities. We are grateful for the lifesaving equipment that AT&T’s FirstNet has donated to our people and for NIHB’s efforts to connect them to organizations like ours,” said Jerilyn Church, CEO of GPTLHB. “This partnership has saved lives and helped to protect the vulnerable.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a steady supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been hard to come by. Recognizing the dire need in Indian Country, AT&T’s FirstNet Program pledged to donate items like hand sanitizer, N-95 Facemasks, cleaning supplies, and gloves to tribal communities across the United States.
“AT&T recognizes the devastating impact the pandemic has had in tribal communities in the Northern Plains and across our country. We are committed to working alongside the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board and the National Indian Health Board to support tribal communities during this public health emergency,” said Cheryl Riley, AT&T External Affairs President for the Northern Plains. “Whether through providing public safety with advanced FirstNet solutions or donating equipment and supplies to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we want to ensure tribal first responders and health workers can continue to carry out their important mission to help keep their communities safe.”
As part of its FirstNet buildout, AT&T is expanding wireless coverage to tribal communities in the Great Plains and is committed to serving tribal first responders and tribal health care providers. The entity has also provided support for first responders at Navajo Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and the National Tribal Emergency Management Council’s food and aid distribution efforts.
To help first responders in tribal communities gain access to much-needed PPE, FirstNet reached out to the National Indian Health Board. The National Indian Health Board then notified its membership. The GPTLHB stood prepared to help identify the need in tribal communities and jumped at the opportunity to manage the distribution of tens of thousands of items.
“The National Indian Health Board greatly values its partnerships with Tribes and member organizations, and the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced just how important partnerships outside of Indian Country are to NIHB’s work for Tribes. NIHB was pleased to partner with AT&T and the Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board to bring PPE and supplies to healthcare and frontline workers. This effort highlights the drive and power of collaboration between public and private entities. NIHB hopes more partners in corporate America will support our Tribes and Tribal organizations as they work to combat this virus that has greatly impacted our communities,” said NIHB CEO Carolyn Hornbuckle.
Working closely with its member-tribes, the GPTLHB has assisted in the coordination and distribution of $256,000 worth of donated PPE to the Mandan Hidatsa & Arikara Nations, Yankton Sioux Tribe, Trenton Indian Community, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate EOC, Ft. Thompson Ambulance Service, Standing Rock Emergency Management, Oglala Sioux Tribal Emergency Management, and the We Are Warriors EOC located inside of the GPTLHB main office in Rapid City.
For more information about FirstNet, here is a short video about their work with the Oglala Sioux Department of Public Safety.
* Established in 1986, the Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board is an organization representing the 18 tribal communities in the four-state region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa. Through public health practices and the formation of tribal partnerships, we work to improve the health of the American Indian peoples we serve by providing public health support and health care advocacy. Visit us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
** About FirstNet, Built with AT&T
FirstNet® is the only nationwide, high-speed broadband communications platform dedicated to and purpose-built for America’s first responders and the extended public safety community. Shaped by the vision of Congress and the first responder community following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, FirstNet is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. The FirstNet network is providing public safety with truly dedicated coverage and capacity when they need it, unique benefits like always-on priority and preemption, and high-quality Band 14 spectrum. These advanced capabilities enable FirstNet to perform faster than any commercial network* and help fire, EMS, law enforcement save lives and protect their communities. Learn more at FirstNet.com.
*Based on AT&T analysis of Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence® data median download speeds for Q3 2020. Ookla trademarks used under license and reprinted with permission.