Navajo teenager who went viral reporting on coronavirus

dublinbay z6 (KS)

This is not good news, folks.

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" Larry Jackson is raising the alarm on the huge number of Covid-19 cases in the Navajo Nation: ‘Why is there no news coverage for us?’

Larry Jackson, 16, would not describe himself as “political”. . . . But last month, Jackson unwittingly went viral after he released a TikTok video raising the alarm on the huge number of Covid-19 cases hitting the Navajo Nation, a territory occupying parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

[. . .]

At the time, the Navajo Nation had the third-highest number of Covid-19 cases in the US, and yet Jackson could find scant news on the issue. On Monday this week, the Navajo Nation surpassed New York state for the highest Covid-19 infection rate.

“I was like – everyone knows everything about New York. There are so many different news outlets reporting on this one state. Why is there no news coverage for us, or any Native Americans?” he says. “I just thought that wasn’t fair.

“I just wanted to spread awareness, to give people basic, raw information because I thought the news was sugarcoating it. I wanted to show what it’s like here, the number of Covid-19 cases and the basic resources the Navajo Nation just doesn’t have,” he says.

On Monday, the Navajo Nation (population 357,000) surpassed New York and New Jersey’s Covid-19 cases per 100,000, despite being almost 25 times smaller than New York (19.5m) and New Jersey (8.9m). The figures indicate that coronavirus has penetrated 2.3% of the Navajo Nation’s population, compared with 1.8% in New York state.

[. . .]

The Navajo Nation is under strict lockdown terms right now, including a 57-hour lockdown rule over the weekends that sees no one coming in or out of the reservation. People can’t leave their homes between 8pm to 5am unless they are an essential worker or have a written pass.
So why are the cases so high? Thirty per cent of people in the Navajo Nation still don’t have clean running water or electricity. We are being told to regularly wash our hands but for a lot of people that’s a 40 miles plus trip,” Jackson says. “Plus our resources are really low on the Navajo Nation – there are only six hospitals,” he adds.

The Guardian’s own reporting revealed the Navajo Nation received its relief package six weeks after it was promised – only receiving it after suing the federal government. Meanwhile, Indian Country reports that the $8bn relief package set aside for almost 600 Native American Tribes is “woefully inadequate”.

[. . .]

I ask him what message he wants to leave people with. “I just want us to be seen. Not as ‘other’, but just as people,” he says."


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/22/navajo-teenager-tiktok-reporting-coronavirus

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We hear you, Larry--we hear you.


Kate

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miss lindsey (stillmissesSophie,chase,others)(8a)

There are no words.

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patriciae_gw(07)

Woefully inadequate?

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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23)

Why is there no news coverage for us?’

It has been getting ongoing coverage, almost every show, by Rachel Maddow.

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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

I'm hearing coverage on the radio.

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elvis

The figures indicate that coronavirus has penetrated 2.3% of the Navajo Nation’s population, compared with 1.8% in New York state.

.5% is significant. In contrast, here's a story that was in the news a month ago. There are multiple similar scenarios in Native villages.

With a deadly coronavirus epidemic creeping northward and the nearest hospital 230 miles away, Galen Gilbert, First Chief of Arctic Village, Alaska, knew his 200-person town could not afford to take any chances. A single case of COVID-19 could lead to the virus quickly spreading around the tight-knit community, but anybody who needed hospitalization would likely face an overstretched medevac system. As national infection rates rose, the 32-year-old leader and his village made an agonizing decision: rather than risk a potentially devastating outbreak, Arctic Village cut itself off almost entirely from the outside world.

“It’s a sacrifice we have to do for our people, because it’s such a small community,” Gilbert says. “You gotta do what you gotta do to survive.”

In recent weeks, dozens of villages like Gilbert’s, mainly populated by indigenous Alaskans and overseen by tribal authorities, have restricted or completely halted travel in order to keep COVID-19 at bay, in addition to instituting social distancing rules within their borders. Barring travel is an extreme measure for such isolated communities, but leaders say it’s better than risking outbreaks in settlements where a lack of local medical capacity means an infection could easily become a death sentence. “They really don’t have any way other than that to protect themselves,” says Victor Joseph, chief and chairman of the Tanana Chiefs Conference, an Alaska Native non-profit corporation that provides social and health services to 37 federally-recognized tribes spread across an area a bit smaller than the state of Texas.

https://time.com/5813162/alaska-coronavirus/

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mudhouse

I've been trying to understand the complicated problems with disbursing the $8 billion in Native American Covid relief funds since they first surfaced. The Guardian's implication that the Navajo Nation only received their portion ($600 million) after they sued the federal government is grossly inaccurate.

The Navajo Nation joined ten other Native American tribes in a lawsuit against the federal judgement on April 23, because they believe none of the $8 billion in funding should go to Alaska Native corporations. Because of that lawsuit, a US District Court placed a temporary injunction on releasing any funds to Alaska Native corporations until the lawsuit is resolved. So, a portion of the $8 billion can't be dispersed, until the judge sorts out who should be eligible. Attorneys in the case are hoping for a decision by the end of June.

Meanwhile, $4.8 billion in funds have been dispersed to tribal governments in all states, following a plan that was announced by the Treasury Department on May 5. The Navajo Nation received $600 million as their portion.
https://indiancountrytoday.com/news/treasury-announces-funding-plan-trump-to-meet-with-tribal-leaders-KYLjPTG1mk6RrPPx0Ly6nA

Not all of the remaining funds are held up by the court case about Alaska Natives, but Congress is requiring the Treasury department to consult with all of the tribes, and the Department of the Interior, to decide on how it should be fairly dispersed among the many tribes.

In this CBS article from nine days ago, a federal judge says that the Covid19 aid to Native American tribes has not been unreasonably delayed by the Treasury Department.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., rejected an assertion that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was "twiddling his thumbs." Congress required Mnuchin to consult with tribes and the Interior Department before sending any payments, making the job more difficult.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/federal-judge-says-coronavirus-aid-to-native-americans-not-unreasonably-delayed/

(And if anyone is concerned that this judge is playing politics to side with the Trump administration, Amit Mehta was appointed by Obama, and he's the judge that ruled one year ago that Trump's accounting firm had to hand over Trump's financial records to the Democrat controlled House Oversight Committee.)

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Linda

I've read some about it. You have to understand most of them can't work if they stay in quarantine on the reservation. Some can work on the reservation, but there's few jobs there. They need money to survive until the virus is brought under control. And most jobs available to them off the reservation could involve conditions where catching the virus is very likely. We have some meat packing plants here in Texas and the jobs there are extremely unsafe for those workers. The government requires that the plants stay open, but they won't require the companies to have safe working conditions. Just an example of unsafe jobs.

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Tilly Teabag

In Australia our indigenous peoples up North also have strict lockdowns . We wouldn’t want them to lose more of their populations than they already did under colonialism.

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blfenton

The same thing is happening in Canada with the Indigenous villages spread throughout the north. Indigenous include First Nations, Inuit and Metis and they fall under different jurisdictions but the issues are the same for all them - overcrowded living conditions, little or no running water, many are fly-in communities making getting supplies in difficult, little or no health support and many already have compromised health. Being so remote did slow the progress but some are now being hit. There is an island off of Vancouver Island that is in lock-down to prevent the continuing spread.

There has been funding allocated but it sounds like, as usual, bureaucracy is getting in the way. A continuing sad situation that Canada can't seem to resolve.

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jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)(9b)

This is so sad. They already have so little and are being ignored again by the government. All the indigenous people have great reverence for their elders and so it much be horrible to see them dying in such great numbers and taking part of the culture with them.

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Stan Areted

This is what happens when people allow themselves to be dependent on tax dollars.

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Linda

In other words, sneak off the reservation and work, meanwhile either spreading the virus or catching it?

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elvis

You mean, like the rest of us?

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