October 12, 2020
Taylor Flamini | 480.540.7135
(PHOENIX, AZ) As we celebrate Indigenous People’s Day, the Arizona Center for Economic Progress asks Governor Ducey to take concrete steps to move from statements of solidarity and recognition to much-needed action.
Tribal communities have faced some of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the world. In April, people living on reservations were four times more likely to have COVID-19 than the U.S. population. The pandemic has presented an existential threat to many tribes due to its disproportionately affecting elders; the keepers of tribal culture, language, and traditions.
In addition to the health, economic, and cultural impact, the crisis has also exacerbated underlying disparities within American Indian communities. For example, Indian Country continues to lag far behind the rest of Arizona in terms of access to high-speed, home internet service. 95 percent or 162,382 people living on tribal lands in Arizona have either unserved or underserved telecommunication infrastructure needs. Without
broadband access there can be no effective tele-health, telecommuting, or distance learning.
The Arizona Center for Economic Progress calls on Governor Ducey and the legislature to work on long-term policies that would address both the pressing coronavirus crisis and the structural inequities that have made Indian Country more vulnerable to health crises. They include:
“The disproportionate devastation that Indian Country has faced from the COVID-19 pandemic can be clearly traced to systemic inequality and the state’s failure to invest in all Arizonans, including American Indians living on- and off- reservations,” said David Lujan, Director of the Arizona Center for Economic Progress.
“The Governor and the legislature must start to respect tribal sovereignty and give all communities a fair and equal opportunity to thrive during the pandemic and beyond it. This is created by elevating the voices of tribal leaders, developing revenue sharing agreements, and maintaining long term state investments in infrastructure, including the health care system and broadband.”
For more information on how the Arizona Center for Economic Progress is working with Native American communities to develop long term policy solutions read our letter to Governor Ducey here.
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The Arizona Center for Economic Progress engages advocates, policymakers, and communities to connect-the-dots between inequities in our economy and solutions to create a fair and socially just Arizona. Learn more at azeconcenter.org
The Arizona Center for Economic Progress
3030 N. 3rd St., Suite 650
Phoenix, AZ 85012