How COVID-19 has Affected Indigenous People

Indigenous people had been facing social, economic, cultural, discrimination, and many more issues before this crazy year. They have been experiencing a lack of access to health care, essential resources, sanitation, and other key survival materials. Indigenous people are at a greater threat to the coronavirus pandemic. According to COVID-19 wrap: the pandemic and Indigenous communities, locally and globally, “Americans’ infection rate from the virus is three and a half times higher than for white Americans, and their mortality rate is two times higher than for white and Asian Americans. By mid-2020, the Navajo Nation in southwest America, had the highest infection rate of any state in the United States.”

Nevertheless, some found loopholes in these situations. Indigenous communities established their own public health guidelines and did not wait for national government support. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were successful. Maori tribes began distributing hand sanitizers, masks, and essential resources for those who are vulnerable in their communities. They had also organized checkpoints to manage the movements in and out of their communities.




Health Care

Indigenous people face stigma and discrimination. They are much more vulnerable to violence and racism. So vulnerable to the point that they lack health care. To assure their safety and proper services, a plan should be implemented where Indigenous language is to be spoken and is appropriate for the specific situations of Indigenous people. We all know due to Covid-19 guidelines, the elderly are the most at risk. However, “ Some indigenous communities also live in multi-generational housing, which puts Indigenous peoples and their families, especially the Elders, at risk.” As they are struggling to provide safety for their communities, they are also lacking medical support.


Lack of resources

Most people were quarantined with all the essentials that were needed. Although for a short time, we experienced a shortage, Indigenous people are not receiving any assistance at all. “As lockdowns continue in numerous countries, with no timeline in sight, Indigenous peoples who already face food insecurity, as a result of the loss of their traditional lands and territories,  confront even graver challenges in access to food.”



Education

Many school districts provide students and families laptops, and wifi routers to support children’s education. “COVID-19 restrictions impacted children’s ability to maintain a connection to their culture. The restrictions also limited access to the Internet in remote areas, interrupting education.” Indigenous people are not provided with these same resources, they are interrupting children’s education.


Mental Health

According to the article, 60% of Indigenous people say their mental health is worse due to the COVID-19: survey, 60% had expressed that their mental health has worsened since the social distancing guidelines were established. They described it as “quite a bit stressful” or “extremely stressful.” Prior, this percentage was 16%, experiencing declined mental health.

Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund

  • Access and distribution of vaccines, educational resources, and more.

  • Essential services and solutions for economic securities, cultural, public health, and education support for Indigenous youth.

  • Equipment of laptops, internet, communications technology allowing communities to catch up on education, work.

  • Provide financial bridges to nonprofits and community organizations to continue the resiliency of Indigenous people through the pandemic.


HOW TO HELP: https://www.firstnations.org/fndi_donate/


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