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In the aftermath of last fall’s hurricanes, a UP tribe stepped up for its Caribbean employees

Courtesy of Vernita Joseph
For some of the tribe's Caribbean visitors, it was their first time seeing snow.



First came Hurricane Irma, smashing through the Caribbean last Sept. 6. Ten days later, there was even more devastation from HurricaneMaria


Lives were lost, and the damage to homes and businesses was immense. 


But there is a little-known story to be told from Irma and Maria. It concerns the Lac Vieux DesertBand of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, who are in Watersmeet, in the Upper Peninsula. 


The tribe has business ties to the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. 


In the aftermath of the hurricanes, the tribe brought some of their employees and families to Watersmeet. It was people from the Caribbean getting their first experience of Michigan. 


Shelly Hazen, a member of the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, and Vernita Joseph, who came from Saint Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Upper Peninsula after the hurricanes, joined Stateside to share the story. 


They talked about what led to the decision to invite the employees to Michigan, the community's "overwhelming" response to the visitors, and what the Caribbean visitors thought of Michigan's October snowstorm while they were here.


Listen above for the full conversation.


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