Responding to COVID-19 Through Relationships and Cultural Understanding | NAAEE

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Responding to COVID-19 Through Relationships and Cultural Understanding

COVID-19 has disproportionately affected communities of color, including Native Americans. By leveraging its relationships and understanding of tribal culture, the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health is providing resources to address the needs of Native Communities.

For Native populations, the effects of COVID-19 extend beyond physical and mental health — they threaten the endurance of historic traditions. In many Native communities, elders are the wisdom keepers, responsible for educating youth on traditional linguistic and cultural practices. “Over the past 30 to 40 years, and after many years of suppression by non-Native forces, we’ve seen a large push among Native communities to revive language and traditional cultural practices,” says Allison Barlow, director of the Center. “COVID-19 threatens to interrupt this revival by taking the elders.” Working with a Native American collaborative, the Center created the children’s book, Our Smallest Warriors, Our Strongest Medicine: Overcoming COVID-19, a re-telling of My Hero is You.