Deb Haaland, Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico congresswoman, has been confirmed as Secretary of the Interior. She is the first Native American in history to hold a cabinet position.
- Today there 574 federally recognized tribes.
- The 1900 census enumerated 237,000 North American Indians. This number represents a population collapse of 90%.
- The Covid-19 pandemic has killed more Native Americans than any other group. Deaths among Native Americans are one in every 475 compared to one in every 645 African Americans and one in 121 white Americans (ARM Research Lab).
- Despite more general acceptance of the vaccines and willingness to be vaccinated ,distribution in tribal communities has been less than the demand.
- President Joe Biden has created a Covid-19 Health Equity Task Force in response to the inequities in healthcare among minority population groups across the United States.
Covid Vaccinations in Native American Communities
- Cherokee in Northeast Oklahoma have 141,000 on the reservation, but vaccine supply is greater than the demand.
- The Osage Nation in Northeast Oklahoma are vaccinating 200/day with capability to vaccinate 500/day.
- The Navaho Nation is 70% vaccinated.
- The virus has killed American Indians at twice the rate of white people.
- Vaccine rollout in Native communities has been a surprising source of strength compared to Black and Hispanic communities.
Native American Needs:
- access to water and electricity
In the Navaho Nation, 30 to 40 percent have no running water; 30 to 40 percent are without electricity.
- improvements to roads and bridges
- adequate health care
The Indian Health Service includes 26 hospitals, 56 health centers, and 32 health stations serving 2.2 million tribal members
- shutdown the Dakota Access Pipeline that crosses north of Standing Rock Sioux reservation
- end the rollback protection of Bear Ears National Monument that President Trump started to boost oil production
- support Indian schools
Navaho Nation Reaches Zero Cases and Deaths
The Navaho Nation with the worst Covid-19 case rates in the United States has reached a level of zero cases and deaths in a twenty-four hour period. How? They followed strict health guidelines for masks and a lockdown. Also important has been the collaboration of Indian Health Service with Deb Haaland, the new Secretary of the Interior, and the Relief Bill in providing vaccination resources.
Podcast: U.S. Parks From Indigenous Voices
Episode 1: Yellowstone
Episode 2: Grand Canyon
Others to follow…