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Muckleshoot Tribe delivers COVID vaccine to its incarcerated members

Muckleshoot Tribe’s Health Clinic Manager Jeremy Pangelinan and registered nurse Mikaba Snowden confirm the safe and appropriate transfer of the gifted COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Department of Corrections
Muckleshoot Tribe’s Health Clinic Manager Jeremy Pangelinan and registered nurse Mikaba Snowden confirm the safe and appropriate transfer of the gifted COVID-19 vaccine doses.";

Most inmates in the state correctional system have to wait until the end of the month to get a COVID-19 vaccine. But members of the Muckleshoot Tribe who are serving sentences at the Monroe Correctional Complex got their vaccines early.

That’s thanks to a donation and persistent negotiations from their government.

Seattle Indigenous rights attorney Gabe Galanda says the Muckleshoot Tribe has been a champion of Indigenous prisoner human rights in this region for many years.

“Indigenous nations and societies have not forgotten their relatives, even when they fall down and are sent away, and this just shows as the latest example of how local tribal governments and tribal communities are making sure that they will get a chance to stand on their own feet in terms of their health, their sobriety, their well-being, and ultimately reenter society with the best chance for success,” Galanda said.

Fourteen of the 17 individuals who met the criteria accepted the shots in mid-February.

The state Department of Corrections says the vaccine donation is an example of social connection with incarcerated people, that all communities could strive for.

Muckleshoot Tribe’s Health Clinic Manager Jeremy Pangelinan hands off the gifted COVID-19 vaccine doses to registered nurse Mikaba Snowden at Monroe Correctional Complex.
Credit Department of Corrections
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Department of Corrections
Muckleshoot Tribe’s Health Clinic Manager Jeremy Pangelinan hands off the gifted COVID-19 vaccine doses to registered nurse Mikaba Snowden at Monroe Correctional Complex.

Bellamy Pailthorp covers the environment beat for KNKX, where she has worked since 1999. From 2000-2012, she covered the business and labor beat. Bellamy has a deep interest in Indigenous affairs and the Salish Sea. She has a masters in journalism from Columbia University.