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CARE ACT Assistance Not Eminent for Native Americans

Grassroots Support Required as COVID-19 Continues to Ravage Communities

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States – WEBWIRE

SALT LAKE CITY, UT — May 11, 2020 — Protect Native Elders, a Native-lead, 100% volunteer organization working to provide rapid relief support to indigenous communities during the Covid-19 outbreak, issues a statement in response to the recent $600 million dollar government payout received by several Native American Nations.

“Although some Native American Nations have received the much needed Care Act funding, it will continue to be a complex and slow moving situation. Getting and distributing supplies is inhibited by a hopelessly inadequate infrastructure. There are no distribution systems, phones, electricity or broadband service and terrible roads in most rural areas,“ said Bleu Adams, Navajo business owner and co-founder of Protect Native Elders.

“It is grassroots organizations like ours, using a rapid response model, which are having the most dramatic and immediate impact. Continued donations for these efforts are vital to increase our ability to provide PPE*, food and water to save lives in many communities,” she continued.

Care Act

While many nations are still waiting to get the Care Act funding; Protect Native Elders remains focused on engaging the community-at-large to support tribes across the United States. As COVID-19 devastates Indian country, requests for unmet needs keep coming in: from the Pacific Northwest groups such as the Spokane Tribe of Indians to Southwestern nations such as Zuni, Hopi, and Apache to the Sioux nations in the Dakotas and the tribal groups in New York and New Jersey.

 "We are grateful for any funding that is offered from the federal or state government, but at this point, that has not been a reality. Not all Tribal Nations are receiving the necessary support that they need to address this pandemic. The grassroots-driven donations of supplies are crucial for communities like ours to mitigate the crisis and lack of federal and state assistance in this matter,” said Verlon Jose, Governor of the Traditional O’odham Leaders.


As of May 8, 2020 there are 3,923 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 119 confirmed deaths in Native American communities. Daily we watch these numbers accelerate. (

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Native Americans are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 across America. Among the 51% of deaths for which data on race and ethnicity are known, Native Americans represent 15% of deaths. 

The Arizona department of health services reported that Native Americans make up 16% of the state’s Covid-19 related deaths, despite representing only 6% of the state’s population. In New Mexico, Native Americans make up less than 10% of the population but over one-third of Corona virus cases. (

But the current data sources for indigenous infection and death rates are lax and inaccurate. 

“…many states releasing breakdowns of COVID-19 cases are missing significant chunks of data. Of those that have released some demographic data on cases, at least 18 states are missing information on more than 30 percent of cases in their data for either race or ethnicity.” 
- Soo Rin Kim, investigations reporter for ABC News

This is an issue being encountered worldwide:

“As the number of COVID-19 infections rises worldwide, as well as the high mortality rates among certain vulnerable groups with underlying health conditions, data on the rate of infection in Indigenous peoples are either not yet available (even where reporting and testing are available), or not recorded by ethnicity. Relevant information about infectious diseases and preventive measures is also not available in indigenous languages.”
- United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Protecting our Shared Future 

It has been widely recognized that Indigenous Elders hold in their life experience multigenerational wisdom, practices that are incredibly valuable for our collective journey to reverse climate change. 

Right now, there is a severe risk of having these great teachers and knowledge completely wiped out. 

This is not just a crisis for the Indigenous community, but for all of us.

About Protect Native Elders

Protect Native Elders is a diverse team of indigenous community members, activists, healthcare professionals and other like-minded individuals spread across the United States. 

We are an intertribal organization providing rapid relief support to indigenous communities, delivering PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) essentials and supplies. Our emphasis is on water, food and sanitation for families, and PPE for medical and other front-line workers. Our fiscal sponsor is California Tao so donations are tax deductable.

For additional information please visit our website: 

*PPE—Personal Protective Equipment


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