The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed life as we know it. This historic crisis has caused an unprecedented disruption to employment and critical services that will deliver a very damaging blow for urban AI/ANs – so many of whom were already balancing precariously on the margins of society.
As a result, urban American Indian communities and their network of nonprofit organizations are stepping into this breach to respond swiftly and decisively, working to stop a deeper slide into more significant disparities for urban AI/AN people.
The National Urban Indian Family Coalition (NUIFC) recognizes that urban American Indian organizations have been and always will be the vanguard for responding to both embedded and imminent community needs for urban AI/AN communities. We know that these nonprofits will provide critical, on the ground responses to this national crisis and will address both immediate and future challenges for urban AI/AN communities. As a result of these significant challenges, NUIFC was compelled to act in partnership with our 40+ members and the urban communities that they serve.
We initiated this report intending to learn about the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic directly from urban AI/AN organizations and the communities they serve. In March 2020, we launched a national survey targeting our network of members, partners, and grantees (totaling well over 40 organizations). The survey provided a direct line of communication with NUIFC, where organizational and community leaders would be able to report on the issues they were experiencing “on the ground.” Once tabulated and collated, the data collected by this national survey was used to inform this brief, and its recommendations for actionable, outcome-oriented strategies.