COVID-19 in New Mexico Tribal Lands: Social Vulnerabilities and Historical RacismPage 3 of 3

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Given the disproportionately high COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths among AIAN individuals (New Mexico Department of Health, 2020) and relatively small population size of AIAN persons at the aggregate level on non-Tribal lands; we urge public health researchers and policy makers interested in designing any place-based mitigating strategies to explicitly include percentage of AIAN Peoples as one of the main factors of identifying vulnerable places rather than the percentage of racial and ethnic minority. 

This is critical, without careful attention on whom we exclude through categorization and aggregation, any mitigating efforts could further harm Indigenous Peoples and communities who are often already marginalized through inadequate and unjust representation in federal data (Taylor, 2009; Kukutai and Taylor, 2016). Any research and public health policies with AIAN Peoples that do not explicitly consider the Indigenous research framework will likely produce erroneous conclusions and/or strategies for Indigenous Peoples; and that will contribute to further harming AIAN Peoples and communities.

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