Indianz.Com > COVID-19 > ‘WE ARE HERE. COUNT US’: Native American LifeLines of Baltimore (Maryland)
Posted: April 9, 2020

The coronavirus is impacting American Indians and Alaska Natives all over the country, whether they live in reservation, rural or urban settings. 

But the Native American LifeLines of Baltimore, an urban Indian health and services provider, says the state of Maryland is missing an opportunity to show how the pandemic is affecting tribal residents. Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who has earned widespread praise for his coronavirus efforts, on April 9, 2020, released an initial set of COVID-19 data along racial and ethnic lines — except one significant group was omitted.

“It is sadly the norm that our community is statistically ‘othered’, which means that a review of the data would suggest that American Indians/Alaska Natives aren’t impacted by COVID-19. And we know that isn’t true,” Native American LifeLines said in a post on social media.

“Data = dollars. No data, no dollars,” the organization added. “No desperately needed prevention intervention or relief and response to Maryland’s AI/AN citizens. It is also another instance of the dehumanizing invisibility our community is consigned to endure on our homelands. This is just bad public health. WE ARE HERE. COUNT US.”

A neighboring jurisdiction is the one of the few counting the first Americans. The District of Columbia started reporting COVID-19 cases among racial and ethnic lines this week. According to the latest data, 6 American Indians and Alaska Natives have tested positive in the nation’s capital. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 13,000 Native Americans live in Maryland. In addition to urban Indians in Baltimore, the state is home to several tribes.

Despite having a much smaller Native population of about 1,900, D.C. has been able to report a small but growing number of COVID-19 cases among American Indian and Alaska Native residents.


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