In the United States, the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in January within the Lummi Nation outside of Seattle, Washington. Since then, many other Indigenous Peoples are now reporting cases and deaths in their territories: Yanomami in Brazilian Amazon, Navajo Nation, Maya Kaqchikel town of Patzun, First Nations members in British Columbia, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and Burns Paiute in Oregon are among those that are being hit hard and quick. Additionally, Indigenous Peoples living in urban areas, including Salt Lake City, San Jose, and Seattle, are contracting the virus at high rates.
There are many who are gripped by fear and concern. One Zuni tribal member is quoted as saying "At this rate, the entire tribe will be extinct". A doctor in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala says "We are not prepared. We do not have protection equipment so every doctor is purchasing their own equipment. More than likely, we will be forced to reuse disposable equipment, and that is not good." And others say Guatemala's healthcare is not equipped to handle the virus's spread in rural and Indigenous areas.
Harm suffered by Indigenous communities is extreme due to conditions in which the majority of Indigenous populations live globally, including lack of access to essential services, poverty, poor sanitation, and other key preventive measures, such as clean water, soap, and disinfectant. Likewise, most medical facilities, if and when there are any, are often under-equipped and under-staffed. All of these factors, and many more, constitute a real risk for the spread of COVID-19 among communities resulting in multiple deaths.
In addition, other communities are experiencing significant socioeconomic-medical impacts caused by the pandemic. In the US, tribal governments were slated to receive $10 billion in direct emergency relief from the CARES Act (the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill that became law on March 27th) however, more than 6 weeks later, no tribes have received any of the funds. Jobs and homes are being lost, utilities shut off, and access to basic necessities like diapers, transportation to medical appointments, food for livestock, and food insecurity is available. People are unable to get enough food to feed their families or seeds to plant gardens. These situations will only get worse as the pandemic is projected to remain in full force for quite a number of months.
As the number of COVID-19 infections rise worldwide, Indigenous Peoples are generating solutions to this grave situation. This is not the first time there has been a profound threat to their survival. Actions are being taken using traditional knowledge and practices such as voluntary isolation and closing off access to their territories as well as activating preventive measures for protecting the elderly and the young.
The situation is changing by the hour. Indigenous allies, at the request of their territorial and spiritual authorities, have reached out to us, their Brothers and Sisters, and asked us to step forward and provide support. Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz, for example, is one such ally. Mamo Manuel Coronado Simongama of the Kogi Community in Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Columbia is another. Communities know best what they need and how such support should be delivered. Support delivered must reflect the situation and needs of the communities as determined by the People who receive funds.
Simultaneously, because of our long history of standing in solidarity and in deep relations with Indigenous communities, many of you have asked the Center for Sacred Studies and The Fountain how you can be of service.
The time has come. Join us as we take action now in bringing together our global network of ministers, partners, sponsors, communities, and generous donors to tap into the power of human connection and grassroots support of Indigenous allies who are excluded from other relief programs.
Stand together with us in unity -- to use our unique power of generosity to provide relief funds to Indigenous allies who are disproportionately experiencing consequences. Consider sharing this GoFundMe Charity COVID-19 Relief Fund for Indigenous Community Support with your family and friends asking them to join with you in supporting a cause that you hold close to your heart.
Your tax-deductible gift will provide emergency grants to meet the highest priority needs of Indigenous families and communities impacted by COVID-19. These mini-grants will be used to purchase key items such as:
• personal Protection Equipment (eye protection, gowns, gloves, face masks)
• transportation from remote locations to hospitals and medical appointments
• critical sanitation supplies
• food and clean water
• seeds, gardening supplies and equipment
• childcare products such as diapers
• toilet paper and additional hygiene products
• animal foods and other necessary items
The grants will also include limited operating support to continue relief efforts to the teams that are working tirelessly to get aid to those who need it the most.
Donate now to COVID-19 Relief Fund for Indigenous Community Support. All donations are tax-deductible to a 501(c)(3) organization. With only a few clicks, you can make a real difference!
If you would prefer to mail your donations, you may send them to:
Center for Sacred Studies, PO Box 2904, Guerneville, CA 85446
(Please put COVID-19 Relief on the memo line.)
We are grateful to be part of this effort with you. Your financial support is vital to the very lives of those who are part of our ever widening Circle. It is your contribution that will water the root of all Nations in this time of transformation.
We have a lot to do with no time to lose!