Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

A broken system: The number of Indigenous people who died from coronavirus may never be known

 

The Cherokee Nation held a candlelight memorial on Thursday, March 18, in memory of Cherokee citizens lost to Covid-19. (Photo/Cherokee Nation)

This story is produced by the Indigenous Investigative Collective, a project of the Native American Journalists Association in partnership with High Country News, Indian Country Today, National Native News and Searchlight New Mexico. It was produced in partnership with MuckRock with the support of JSK-Big Local News.

In May of 2020, the Navajo Nation reported one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the United States. Since that milestone, official data reveal that the Navajo Nation has been one of the hardest-hit populations since the pandemic began. The Navajo Nation boasts the largest population of any Indigenous nation in the United States, and thousands of Navajos live outside the nation, in towns along the border, cities across the country, and in other parts of the world, making it difficult to tally the virus' impacts on Navajo citizens.

It's made worse by a labyrinthian system of local, state, federal and tribal data-reporting systems that often do not communicate with each other or share information. In an effort to come up with a more reliable fatality count, reporters with the Indigenous Investigative Collective (IIC) made multiple public-records requests for death records held by state medical examiners of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. Those requests focused on the counties on or adjacent to the Navajo Nation where many Navajo families live. The states rejected those requests, citing privacy concerns, preventing independent analysis of those records to determine death rates. Experts also cite pervasive misidentification of race and ethnicity of victims at critical data collection points, making the true toll of the pandemic on the Navajo Nation impossible to ever know.

https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/a-broken-system-the-number-of-indigenous-people-who-died-from-coronavirus-may-never-be-known

 

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