How the Coronavirus Pandemic Is Impacting Native American Communities


April 24, 2020

Today’s new episode of our “Covering Coronavirus” podcast takes you to New Mexico, into Native American communities, where the pandemic is taking a painful toll.

With Antonia Gonzales, a reporter for New Mexico PBS, we delve into what the coronavirus outbreak looks like in indigenous communities there and across the country — where there are reports of shortages of necessary medical supplies and critical care beds for patients, and where tribes say their requests for federal help are being ignored.

Antonia herself is a member of the Navajo Nation, one of the largest tribes in the country — which has seen a higher rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases than most states.

“It’s hard to open a daily email and see that cases on the Navajo Nation jumped by, you know, 20, 30 overnight,” Antonia tells me.

In “Covering Coronavirus: Indian Country,” Antonia discusses her reporting on how the Navajo Nation and other tribes have responded to the outbreak, the resilience of indigenous communities in the face of this and other challenges, and what it means that many programs of the Indian Health Service (IHS), the federal agency responsible for providing Native communities with health care, have been “critically underfunded.”

FRONTLINE has been partnering with Antonia and New Mexico PBS to support their coronavirus coverage as part of our Local Journalism Initiative. You can listen to “Covering Coronavirus: Indian Country,” from the FRONTLINE Dispatch on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, RadioPublic, Google Podcastsor wherever you get your podcasts.

Thank you for listening, and for your support.

Raney Aronson-Rath

Raney Aronson-Rath, Executive Producer, FRONTLINE



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