According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) “The percentage of American Indian and Alaska Natives living in poverty in 2017 was estimated to be 26.8%. This compares to 4.6% for the nation as a whole.”1 Many of whom live on reservations with limited access to resources including food, running hot water, and healthcare. Currently in 2020, these numbers have not changed much.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has highlighted long-standing structural and systemic inequities in our country and exacerbates the already precarious situation for Indigenous communities. The NCAI also reported “When compared to all other U.S. races, American Indians and Alaska Natives have a lower life expectancy by 5.5 years. This includes higher rates of death from chronic illness, including diabetes, chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, mellitus, and suicide.”2
Meanwhile, politicians throughout the country have used the pandemic as an excuse to impose state-level restrictions on abortion access and force temporary health center closures. As a result, it has made it even more difficult for many to access necessary and legal health care. This disproportionately impacts people with low incomes, people of color, and those living in remote and extremely rural communities.