COVID-19 Response in Indian Country: A Federal Failure   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Introduction and Summary: "The COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic's disproportionate and devastating harm to American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities is a direct and damning consequence of the U.S. government's failure to uphold its legal trust and treaty obligations to Indian Country. Currently, the Navajo Nation has the highest infection rate in the country, greater than that of the worst-hit state, New York; it is even greater than that of Wuhan at the height of the outbreak in China. Native people make up only around one-tenth of New Mexico's population but more than 55 percent of its coronavirus cases; in Wyoming, AI/AN people are less than 3 percent of the state population but make up more than one-third of its cases. This crisis--and the underlying conditions tribal communities face--are the result of centuries of colonial violence and neglect that continue to this day. [...] In order to allay the current crisis, enable tribes to recover, and prevent an even more devastating recurrence, the U.S. government needs to address the systemic inequalities that have held Indian Country back in its response to COVID-19--both as a matter of public safety and as one of legal and moral obligation."

Center for American Progress
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