To Improve the Reservation, the Biden Administration Needs to Act Now on Broadband
November 18, 2021
While tough challenges are nothing new for Native Americans, nearly two years of COVID-19 have been brutal. Federal figures show the massive harm this pandemic has inflicted on us. COVID has hit Native American communities harder than any other community in the U.S. We have more than three times the hospitalization rate and more than twice the death rate as non-Native communities.
But more than that, this pandemic is putting the traditional way of life for many Native Americans under unprecedented pressure. Among Diné living on the Navajo Nation, two-thirds of COVID deaths are people over age 65. Their deaths take away cultural and historical knowledge that may never be regained. More generally, traditional communal living that has existed for generations on many reservations is being pushed aside.
Against this backdrop, the need for Federal action is obvious and urgent. On November 15, President Biden signed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that included $65 billion to expand affordable high-speed Internet service with a special focus on left-behind places like Native American reservations.