“American Indians and Alaska Natives clustered in camps or on the streets; ‘It’s been a crazy time’J. Estus, Indian Country Today
Excerpt: Homeless. Vulnerable. And no option for ‘self isolation’ By Joaqlin Estus, Indian Country Today
“Every major city has a virtual suburb for the homeless. Homes consisting of tents, scrap wood, shopping baskets and cardboard boxes. In shelters, a family dwelling might have a common kitchen and bedrooms with bunk beds. Others may have a large room filled with dozens of bunk beds or canvas cots. Some have dozens of rubber-coated thick pads placed a foot apart in rows laid across a concrete floor.
Chronic diseases are higher than normal in the best of times. The ideal terrain for a virus, such as COVID-19, to take hold and spread…Seattle has been the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. There have been 1,187 COVID-19 cases and 66 deaths in Washington as of March 19. (New York City has more cases, 4,000, but fewer deaths, 22).
‘It’s been a crazy time,’ said Abigail Echo-Hawk, Pawnee, chief research officer at the Seattle Indian Health Board. ‘I’m just trying to put out as many resources as I possibly can and serve my community to the best of my abilities. I’m just grateful to all my ancestors that came before me, who have taught us how to be strong, resilient people.’
The Seattle Indian Health Board offers medical, dental, and behavioral services as well as elders and youth services. It provides resources to prevent homelessness. It also runs the Urban Indian Health Institute, one of 12 tribal epidemiology centers in the nation. In King County, where Seattle is located, American Indians and Alaska Natives are seven times more likely to be homeless than whites…She said the Seattle Indian health board is working to live up to CDC guidelines that, for now, are beyond its reach. ‘If we shut down our programs [involving more than ten people], our elders have nowhere to go for shelter and they have nowhere to go for their meals, which we provide. So from that harm reduction approach, we are making sure that there is distance between them of six feet.’
Echo-Hawk noted although the largest outbreak was in an affluent suburb, the first quarantine and isolation facility opened in one of Seattle’s lowest income neighborhoods. She said, in the interests of equity and social justice ‘we have to ensure that all of the risk is not just taken by low income communities.
We have to recognize it is now the time for the community as a whole to come together and to support one another.’
Tuesday evening at a press conference, municipal manager Bill Falsey said, ‘The sheltering capacity for homeless individuals in Anchorage was a challenge before COVID-19. The new issue is that our homeless community includes many individuals with underlying health conditions.
An outbreak of COVID-19 in a homeless shelter could be particularly severe. That would be terrible for the residents, but it also potentially affects everyone.”
Resource Sites for the COVID-19:
INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY:
COVID-19 Tracker in the United States: Story summaries, lists of closures, resources. Last update 03/26/20 at 3 pm. Information Here
COVID-19 financial strain? Here are resources in 50 states Federal and state services include monetary and food assistance, unemployment benefits, and more. The National Retail Federation also has over 70 corporations looking for workers.
COVID-19 online resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Online Teaching Activities Sites with Free Materials for Teachers, Students and Parents
“Learning Packets” for students During School Closures By Larry Ferlazzo: “It seems like a fair number of districts don’t have any kind of learning plan in place for their students right now. Some districts, however, even if they don’t have a full-fledged remote learning program going on, are creating “learning packets” for students to complete. It’s not great, obviously, but it seems like it’s better than nothing and can help out parents.” For more information visit STEM site.
Home With Your Kids? Writers Want to Help” – The New York Times Mo Willems, Gene Luen Yang, Amie Kaufman and other authors for young readers are reading their work online and offering drawing tutorials, to help fill our strange new hours.
The STEM Sprouts Teaching Guide – Boston Children’s Museum & WGBH Welcome! Are you ready for some fun?
The STEM Sprouts Teaching Kit is the product of a collaboration between National Grid, Boston Children’s Museum, and WGBH. The goal of this curriculum is to assist preschool educators in focusing and refining the naturally inquisitive behaviors of three to five-year-olds on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
Be Smart, Be Careful, Be Safe!