Second listening session held on proposed Fairview-Sanford merger

January 18, 2023

BEMIDJI, Minn. – At Attorney General Keith Ellison’s second listening session on the proposed Sanford-Fairview Health merger Tuesday night, Red Lake Nation Chairman Darrell Seki said members have been subject to racial bias at Sanford’s Bemidji facility.

He played a video of a nurse saying offensive things about Red Lake and Leech Lake natives.

Seki told the group, this shouldn’t happen to Native Americans.

“We’re a different color but we were born in the same way,” Seki said.

Others in the crowd, including those that are members of the Minnesota Nurses Association, and other unions, expressed concerns if the merger occurs.

“I’m a union woman. Unions make us strong,” one woman said. “Will this merger affect our union status? If this happens, I’m counting on my union brothers and sisters to stay strong.”

Ellison scheduled four community meetings across the state this month to get public input on the proposed merger of the two health facilities, headquartered in the Twin Cities and Sioux Falls.