February 3rd, 2023

KIPI News, August 4, 2022 – Part 2

Native Americans’ life expectancy dropped by more than six years during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study.  For the study, researchers compared life expectancy at birth in 2019 to 2020 and 2021 when COVID-19 cases were surging. Data was drawn from the CDC. They found that the pandemic lowered life expectancy for Native Americans from 72 years in 2019 to around 67 years in 2021 for both sexes combined.    

Washington state’s task force on missing and murdered Indigenous women is recommending a special cold case unit be created within the state’s attorney general’s office. The group released its initial recommendations Monday as part of its 2022 interim report. “Because as a result of the institutional and structural racism within law enforcement, our people were not seeing investigations and our loved ones were dying in silence,” said task force member and director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, Abigail Echo-Hawk.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe is suing the federal government for failing to provide adequate law enforcement on the Pine Ridge Reservation. The lawsuit filed this week against the Bureau of Indian Affairs and some high-level officials in the Interior Department alleges the inadequacy has created a “public safety crisis” on the reservation. Tribal officials say Pine Ridge with its 3 million acres of land has just 33 police officers and eight criminal investigators who handled more than 133,700 emergency calls last year. And, that there were only six to eight officers on any given shift.