Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness celebrates National Rural Health Day

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 6:16 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MILLINOCKET, Maine (WABI) -Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness is celebrating National Rural Health Day with a gift from the federal government.

“USDA is coming in partnership with us at a time when it is so critical to serve people who need healing,” said Lisa Sockabasin Co-CEO, Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness.

The USDA awarded the organization $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Rhiannon Hampson, Maine State Director for USDA Rural Development, says it was not only important to walk the walk in diversity inclusion. She says the group did their part in submitting a thorough application for the grant.

“There is no way that we can undo 400 years of discrimination and systemic trauma due to colonization. We are not going to be able to change that in one grant, we are not going to be able to change that in one administration, but we have to start somewhere,” said Hampson.

For Lisa Sockabasin, it couldn’t have come at a better time as the month of November is also Native American Heritage Month.

“This USDA gift allows us to renovate properties, we have significant properties here in Millinocket. Each of these properties are significant to someone’s healing journey,” Sockabasin

Healing from substance use disorder and more within the community. The four properties will also serve as transitional housing or simply a place where families can gather and feel safe, all part of the healing journey.

“For our youth to explore and heal, for our elders to come and gather, for our people in recovery to find a place,” said Sockabasin.

No person is disposable, neither is any community, neither is any space. You don’t have to be in urban America. You do not have to be in the metropolis or a center of population to be deserving,” said Hampson.

Socakabasin says it’s great to know the federal government is invested in them.

Hampson agrees and says not addressing trauma is perpetuating it.

“We can acknowledge that we have done damage, we can acknowledge that things have not been easy for our tribal members, and at the very same time, we can acknowledge that we have the resources to help,” said Hampson