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Panel Discussion on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
September 28, 2021

Panel Discussion on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Human Rights Council – 48th Session

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

As delivered by Catherine L. Peters

Thank you.

During the pandemic, indigenous peoples have faced disparities in accessing health care treatment and social services.  This is not true only in the United States, but around the world.

The U.S. government continues to take measures to prevent and address the spread of COVID-19 in indigenous communities.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES” Act) provides $8 billion in financial assistance to tribal governments.  The Department of the Treasury consults with the Department of the Interior and Tribal governments to channel the funds to the most pressing needs.

The CARES Act includes $522 million in direct appropriations to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education.  These monies assist individuals who have lost income, and include health, housing, and nutrition assistance programs.

The United States will continue to partner with Indigenous Peoples and leaders, as critical partners in halting the spread of COVID-19.  Indigenous Peoples’ participation in the decision-making process is essential to ensure communities’ needs are met, combat misinformation, and coordinate multi-pronged responses to address secondary impacts to the pandemic and its response.

Question:  What can we do to help indigenous communities enhance their resilience in the face of challenges imposed by COVID-19?