The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians (Tribe) is a sovereign Native American community located in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Tribe gained federal recognition in 1972 and operates under a constitution and bylaws first approved in 1975 by the Secretary of the Interior. Today there are 40,929 enrolled members who live throughout the United States. The Tribe’s service area covers 8,500 square miles, which encompasses seven very rural counties in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan: Alger, Chippewa, Delta, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, and Schoolcraft. There are 14,331 members residing in the seven county service area. The Tribe is governed by an elected 12-member Board of Directors representing five geographical election regions that lie within the seven county service area, with the chairman’s position elected at large.
The mission of Sault Tribe Health Services is to provide high quality, patient-centered care that is responsive, courteous and sensitive to individual, family, community and cultural needs with an emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion. The tribe has four main health clinics, which are in Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, Manistique and Munising and offer general medical care, clinical nursing, community health nursing, health education, nutrition services, diabetes programs, immunizations, laboratory services, dental services, optical services, audiology, pharmacies, radiology, ultrasound, wellness programs, mental health services, substance abuse prevention and treatment and traditional medicine practitioners. In addition, some health services are available at four tribal community health centers providing various levels of medical services in Marquette, Newberry, Hessel and Escanaba. The tribal health facilities are stationed throughout the tribe’s seven-county service area in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In general, services are offered to all members of federally recognized American Indian tribes, from infancy to adult with priority given to Sault Tribe members. Likewise, members of Sault Tribe may find services available at Indian Health Service facilities or independent services beyond the tribe’s service area.
The SDPI program has been at the forefront of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians health division for years. Sault Tribe’s SDPI program offers a team approach that focuses on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. The SDPI program has guided the tribe’s health division’s program planning and driven outcomes to reach optimal diabetes standards of care. The Sault Tribe’s SDPI program strives to improve the health of our native people with diabetes and advance the health of our native children and communities. Diabetes program planning encompasses the circle of life and is integrated into all of the Sault Tribe’s health programs. We continuously look for ways to inform, educate and support our native community and extended community to help prevent and manage diabetes in a positive way. We treat the family as a whole, not just the person with diabetes. We encourage self-acceptance and educate patients and families on how to develop healthy strategies to live in harmony with diabetes. With the patient in the center of the team, the SDPI program staff guide the patient in living in balance with diabetes to optimize quality of living.