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Native Americans – The Population Most Vulnerable to COVID

Despite being here for longer than colonizers, Native Americans are continually marginalized and looked over by the United States Government. This has become ever so obvious during this pandemic. Many Native Americans are at a higher risk for COVID-19 than you or me because Native communities have higher poverty rates, overcrowded housing and higher rates of underlying chronic illnesses. It has been reported by many Native American nations and tribes that there are shortages of COVID-19 testing kits, or the kits are not available at all. This directly contradicts CDC statements that all IHS (Indian Health Service) facilities have access to COVID-19 testing kits.

At Standing Rock, a Sioux reservation in North Dakota, the poverty rate (according to 2012 statistics) within its population is 43.2%; this is also 3x higher than the national average at the time. The population in 2012 was only 8,956. So, the reality of it is that at least 3,869 people were living in immense poverty and it’s only logical to assume those numbers have increased. It’s also reported that 1 in 4 Native American and Alaskan Natives are living in poverty. 

The Navajo reservation reported 2,304.41 cases per 100,000 in comparison to New York which reports 1,806 cases per 100,000. If you are in New York, or even witnessed the sheer destruction COVID-19 had in NYC, then you can imagine how awful the reservations are dealing. It’s extremely ridiculous how high their per capita cases are when they were and still are easily preventable with help from the Federal level. 

Doctors without Borders, a usually purely International humanitarian medical non-governmental agency, for the first time was deployed within the Navajo reservation. It is so detrimental to realize that this could’ve been prevented if people actually cared about Native American tribes; the carelessness of governments has lead to them again being killed for no reason. It seems to me that much more can be done, and I hope that more can be done before most of the populations are gone. It would really kill me, and I wonder how it would feel to a lot of you, if Native American populations ceased to exist because of lack of resources and lack of help. 


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I'm a business administration major here at Ithaca College and I enjoy writing about things that mean a lot to me!
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