For the right to be named and counted: Indigenous Peoples excluded from COVID-19 Statistics (6-4-20)

Cultural survival indigenous peoples covid-19For the right to be named and counted: Indigenous Peoples are excluded from COVID-19 Statistics

Bia’ni Madsa’ Juárez López and Jess Cherofsky, Cultural Survival

4 June 2020

Countries across the world have faced difficulties in attempting to produce data on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. While it may not be possible for every country to have the capacity to have an exact count, for Indigenous Peoples, these data are even more inexact or nonexistent. In the United States, for example, almost half of the states who had published infection rates including ethnic demographic data by April 2020 did not include a category for Indigenous Peoples. Rather, Indigenous Peoples were considered under “Other.” This “effectively eliminates us in the data,” Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), director, urban Indian health board and chief research officer, Seattle Indian Health Board, told The Guardian. Meanwhile, Indigenous Services Canada reported 175 cases as of May 10, but these only include Indigenous people on reserves, “eras[ing]” the fact that “Indigenous Peoples do not only live on-reserve” and that Indigenous Peoples of different cultures live in communities together.

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