On Monday, ABC News reported that Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM) issued a dire warning to the Trump administration about Native American tribal nations’ vulnerability to the coronavirus pandemic during a conference call between the White House and state governors.
“We’re seeing incredible spikes in the Navajo Nation, and this is going to be an issue where we’re going to have to figure that out and think about maybe testing and surveillance opportunities,” said Grisham.
“The rate of infection, at least on the New Mexico side — although we’ve got several Arizona residents in our hospitals — we’re seeing a much higher hospital rate, a much younger hospital rate, a much quicker go-right-to-the-vent rate for this population,” said Grisham. “And we’re seeing doubling in every day-and-a-half. And it could wipe out those tribal nations.” she said.
Trump reportedly replied, “Wow, that’s something.”
Native American tribal governments often face unique challenges in delivering health care, as many are located in remote, rural areas.
The news comes just after the Trump administration moved to disestablish tribal lands of the Mashpee Wampanoag in Massachusetts — a centuries-old tribe who had been building a casino that would have competed with Rhode Island gaming operations with ties to Trump.