‘You are our hero’
Mandaree woman sews masks to help two tribal nations
MANDAREE – Skye Hall is using her sewing talents to help members of two tribal nations protect themselves from the coronavirus pandemic.
For the past several weeks since March 23, Hall, a stay-at-home mom, has been cutting, sewing and distributing hundreds of masks that she is donating to clinics, emergency medical personnel, elders and others of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation on the Fort Berthold Reservation and now the Navajo Nation.
Several days ago she began making masks for families and health-care providers on the Navajo Reservation, a reservation covering parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
All the masks she makes are free donations to the recipients.
When Hall heard about the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and it started to “hit home,” she said she wanted to do something to help. She wanted to help first responders, those on the front lines, those who are high risk for the virus and others to help flatten the curve, she said.
Hearing about the need for masks, she thought she could sew masks and give them to others.
“I’ve been sewing for 17 years since I was 13,” said Hall. She got started sewing her own powwow dresses. She said her mother, Lovina Fox, didn’t sew so she taught herself.
A mom of three children ages 6, 4 and 2, Hall turned to Facebook and YouTube to research how to make the best masks. Through a tutorial she taught herself to make masks with air conditioning unit filters inserted in them. Hall orders the filters online. To use the filters in the masks, first she has to break them down which takes some time.
“My very first mask was to the Elbowoods clinic,” Hall said. She made one for a friend who works there. That resulted in making 38 masks for the New Town health care facility.
After that she made masks for the Mandaree Clinic, Emergency Medical Services and the Mandaree One Stop convenience store staffs and elders in Mandaree and also masks for elders and others in White Shield, to name a few.
“You are our hero,” one person told Hall on Hall’s Facebook page after receiving a mask.
Hall said it takes her 5 to 10 minutes to make one mask.
“I do everything in stages for large quantities,” she said.
Then in a recent message to her on her Facebook page, Hall learned about the Navajo Nation’s dire need for masks. Hall felt she could help.
This past week she had orders to fill for making masks for 17 Navajo Nation families. She said one of the families has 11 members she’s making masks for. She was also filling mask orders this past week for the Gallup (N.M.) Indian Medical Center nursing staff and for dialysis patients in another area of the Navajo reservation. She will also fill orders for about 10 more Navajo Nation families and another nursing staff.
After that she plans to do another large donation round for the MHA Nation, then go back and forth between the two tribal nations to fill orders.
Initially, Hall made a request on Facebook for donations to help with the the costs for the materials for the masks and raised several hundred dollars.
“People have just been donating on their own now,” she said. When people pick up their order of masks, she said they often will leave donations to help with her costs.
“I’m dedicated to it,” said Hall of her mask project. She said she just wants to help people so they don’t get sick.
Anyone who would like to reach Hall can contact her through her Facebook page.
(Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or call 1-800-735-3229. You also can send email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.)