The COVID-19 Activity Book for Native American students
Written by Ninah Divine, Medical Student, UW-Madison
The COVID-19 Activity Book is designed to make an overwhelming and uncertain situation more tangible for the communities most affected. The book is designed for Native American high school students. It highlights the values that make Native American communities strong no matter the challenges they face. It addresses the basic biology of viruses and symptoms of respiratory illnesses. It uses resources from the Urban Indian Health Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for culturally relevant, credible and up to date information. Most of the images are created by Pawnee artist Bunky Echo-Hawk.
Native American communities face a complexity of issues that makes their experience of the pandemic particularly challenging. Many communities consist of intergenerational households and high rates of chronic illnesses. Some communities have limited access to resources such as running water and groceries. Some of the healthcare facilities that care for Native communities are easily overwhelmed or under-funded. Additionally, with the stay at home orders and shut down of many businesses, there have been huge reductions in revenue from tourism, casinos and other tribal businesses. Slow and delayed distribution of funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to tribes has worsened some of these deficits.
With all the barriers that seem to be working against Native American communities in the pandemic, the activity book is designed to make this experience seem more bearable and highlight community strengths. COVID-19 is just another obstacle that Native communities have persevered through many times before.