April 13th, 2020 Last Updated on: April 13th, 2020
For most people, the novel coronavirus causes mild to moderate symptoms resembling a cold or the flu. But for the elderly and people with preexisting conditions, it can lead to severe or fatal illness. Native American tribes across the country are in dire need of supplies, medical attention, and help from the federal government to gain resources and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Half of Native Americans live on reservations. Most of them are in the West, Midwest, and South, according to the National Congress of American Indians. It’s common for Native Americans to live in close quarters with other members of their communities. Along with living in smaller homes, and a frequent lack of electricity and running water, Native American reservations are at significant risk of being breeding grounds for the coronavirus.
The US Government Promised Native Americans $40 Million
A federal funding package in response to the pandemic included $40 million for American Indians and Alaska Natives. The Indian Health Service, the agency responsible for providing primary medical care to 2.5 million Native Americans, is expected to use the hefty sum for epidemiology, public health preparedness, infection control, and education throughout various Native American communities around the country.
However, the money still hasn’t reached tribes.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims there’s no mechanism to deliver the funds to the Indian Health Service. Tribes and tribal organizations run many of the hospitals and clinics Native Americans use under a federal contract.
So, what does this mean for Native Americans?
It means they are not being given access to what’s rightfully theirs. While the funds will reach them eventually, they need immediate help.
The Coronavirus Outbreak by the Numbers:
American Indians have a dark history with infectious disease, and unfortunately, COVID-19 has made its way into a significant number of tribes around the United States. American Indians and Alaska Natives have a disproportionately higher chance of having underlying health conditions and being uninsured, both major contributors to the already immense death toll caused by COVID-19.
Fears of the virus spreading like wildfire between reservations are running rampant. Hundreds of Native Americans have tested positive for COVID-19. While the virus still shows no sign of slowing down, there are things we can do to help those in need.
How Can I Help Native Americans Impacted by Coronavirus?
PWNA is seeking help from the public. They are responsible for providing thousands of Indigenous families with essential supplies like food, water, toilet paper, sanitizer, and other necessities during the coronavirus pandemic. PWNA works with hundreds of tribal communities and is quickly running out of supplies. Donate today to help replenish the PWNA warehouses.
Native Americans in Philanthropy are trying to reach their goal of $250,000 for the Native American Community Response Fund. They will support Native American nonprofits who are currently caring for the most vulnerable during the pandemic. They are partnering with the Decolonizing Wealth Project and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition to help set up a rapid response fund to offer emergency support.
Read More About These Incredible Organizations Here:
This Go Fund Me was created to help the Navajo Nation and Hopi Reservation serve their 180,000 people during the pandemic. With only three small grocery stores, a lack of running water, and a high elderly population, these reservations are among the high risk for contracting COVID-19.
Click the links above to donate today!
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