TThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Life expectancy in America It declined during the pandemic, with the largest decline occurring among non-Hispanic American Indians and Alaskan Natives. It was reassuring to see coverage of this terrible trend. But the context and history underlying these disparities has been largely absent. The reasons why Indigenous peoples are affected the most by COVID-19 goes beyond the fact that they also have very high rates of underlying comorbidities – such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Instead, the roots of Indigenous health inequalities are closely tied to the complex history of our nation’s abuse of indigenous peoples.
I cared for indigenous patients in the Indian Health Service and tribal health facilities in Arizona, New Mexico and Maine before the COVID-19 pandemic. I have seen for myself how the doctrine of manifest destiny—the belief that colonial settlers had a divine right to exterminate indigenous peoples and take possession of their lands—was a driver of disease and death, even today, centuries after our nation’s founding.
The obvious fate was a large-scale attack on the indigenous lands and peoples. The US military forced the resettlement of the indigenous population, which disrupted the local food routes of hunting, fishing, gathering, and farming. The military deliberately targeted local food sources, destroying crops and livestock. “We were seen as the enemy. And so we were fed as prisoners of war,” He said Martin Reinhardt, Professor at Northern Michigan University. People were given modest rations of flour, sugar, salt and lard – ingredients for making fried bread, which many believe to be a traditional, authentic food, but are in fact food of injusticeCooked out of necessity. At a later time, the US government will provide”Commodity foods“Secret meat, canned vegetables and yellow cheese – to fulfill its treaty obligations. These food commodities would become staples of indigenous kitchens and lead to higher rates of obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease among indigenous peoples.”
In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as settlers moved west, the federal government Dam rivers and reservoirs built, draws water away from the tribes. “Hoover Dam provides electricity, and it dams the Colorado River. So you can have access to power and access to water. And that’s how the West was created,” He said Amber Crotty, delegate to the Navajo Nation Assembly. Water is a precious commodity, especially outside of the West. Without access to potable waterIndigenous peoples truck water long distances or head to unsafe sources contaminated with pollutants ranging from bacteria to uranium. They may not wash their hands or shower frequently, which increases their risk of various infections. It is difficult to prepare food safely. They may drink diabetes-promoting sugar-sweetened beverages because they are cheaper than bottled water.
Indigenous lands were also attacked by extractive industries in search of natural resources such as uranium And the oil. Now abandoned uranium mines dot the southwest. Radioactive waste has not yet been cleaned up. Indigenous people are exposed to toxins They have high rates of lung cancer and other types of cancer, scarring of the lungs, asthma, emphysema, blood disorders, birth defects, and more. In other parts of the country, the oil and gas industry has risen cancer rates while also destroy the coastlinedisplacing indigenous peoples again.
Media coverage of declining life expectancy in the United States was missing in that deaths from unintentional injuries, mostly deaths from drug overdose, were roughly associated with deaths from COVID-19, followed by chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, associated with Pretty much alcohol abuse. .
long before the so-called “Diseases of despair“—Liver disease associated with alcohol, drug overdoses, and suicide—reduced life expectancy among low-income and less educated Hispanic white Americans at the beginning of the twenty-first century, and those same afflictions were killing indigenous peoples. The reasons are similar. : the destruction of a way of life and the deterioration of the family and society.Despair comes from “a loss of meaning, dignity, pride, and self-respect,” as Anne Case and Angus Deaton write in Deaths of despair and the future of capitalism. Family separation and the loss of cultural knowledge and identity caused despair among indigenous peoples that had been passed down through generations.
The attack on indigenous peoples evolved over time. It started with overt genocide—”The only good Indian is deadGeneral Philip Sheridan said in the 1860s. Then came the era of assimilation. “Kill the Indian in it and save the manCaptain R.H. Pratt, founder of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, which like many other Indian boarding schools, sought to “civilize” Aboriginal children. Indigenous children were separated from their families and sent to boarding schools or sponsored or adopted Abroad for non-native families. Later in the 20th century, more sophisticated tools were used for population control, such as Contraception even Forced sterilization. Indigenous people have “…a fear that white doctors don’t put your best interests at heart. These are not fears that came out of nowhere. These are fears that have been passed down from generation to generation”, He said Sarah Deere, a Muskogee Creek native and a professor at the University of Kansas. Just as mistrust was a barrier to participation in the health care system among other communities of color, so it is also among Indigenous communities.
Violence against indigenous peoples continues. They are twice as likely to be victims the kill As other racial and ethnic groups in the United States, and more than 40% Among these murder victims are those killed by a person of another race, in sharp contrast to other race murder victims who are largely killed by people of the same race. Around Half of indigenous women experience intimate partner violence and sexual violence, with more than 95% Non-original perpetrators. “Non-indigenous people, especially white men, know that they can come into the tribal communities and can hunt us down as Indigenous women with impunity, because they know we can’t touch them,” He said Lisa Brunner, registered member of the White Earth Ojibwe Nation in Minnesota.
Tribal reserves are often located in remote locations. The FBI doesn’t go out to investigate unless a major crime has been committed, and even then, US prosecutors’ offices Much less likely to sue More crimes are committed in India, including violent crimes, than anywhere else. “…[I]Imagine your own community where some people don’t have to abide by the law. And what does that do to society, when that happens? ” He said Alfred Urbina, Prosecutor of the Pasqua Yaki Tribe. Victims of violent crimes They are more likely to adopt high-risk confrontational behaviors such as alcohol and drug abuse. They are also more likely to have poor mental health, chronic pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions.
Much of this history has been overlooked and forgotten. What we are left with are public health statistics taken out of context and medical diagnoses for which we do not fully understand sociopathology. Thus, our prescriptions and treatment plans fail. Victor Lopez CarmenHunkpati Dakota-Yaqui student at Harvard Medical School, Says He was often told, “[I]If we only stop eating bad foods, if we only stop smoking, if we only stop drinking, if we only act on ourselves, then we will have better health outcomes.” But that is not the cause of Aboriginal disease and death.
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