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caption: The corridors at the new SIHB clinic are lined with actual sweetgrass. Chessie Merrill is a care coordinator at the clinic.
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The corridors at the new SIHB clinic are lined with actual sweetgrass. Chessie Merrill is a care coordinator at the clinic.
Credit: KUOW/Amy Radil

Seattle Indian Health Board celebrates new Pioneer Square clinic

Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood saw a grand opening Thursday – for a new health clinic focused specifically on the needs of Native American patients. It’s on the ground floor of a new 80-unit apartment building operated by the Chief Seattle Club.

The clinic is operated by the Seattle Indian Health Board, and started seeing patients earlier this month.

The Board’s president and CEO Esther Lucero said the Chief Seattle Club next door already provides human services to thousands of Native people in Seattle.

“So we knew we had to bring services to an environment where people felt safe and comfortable already, and that’s something that Chief Seattle Club offers,” Lucero said.

The new clinic offers medical care, a lab, mental health counseling ,and medication-assisted treatment for addiction, as well as a pharmacy.

It also has rows of sweetgrass lining the walls of its corridor. It’s meant to have a healing influence. Lucero said the clinic will integrate traditional Indigenous healing practices in its approach to care.

“That means as a federally qualified health center, we see all people," she said. "But we see all people in a Native way. You’re not going to get that kind of service anywhere.”

The Seattle Indian Health Board still operates its larger clinic in the Chinatown International District. And it’s expanding this fall to a clinic in the Lake City neighborhood.