Native Americans suffer highest Covid-19 fatalities in USA - Muskogee Creek ambassador

By Bronson Perich

Jonodev O. Chaudhuri, ambassador for the Muskogee (Creek) nation says President Donald Trump has rolled back much of the progress made for indigenous peoples of the USA.

"Without a doubt this is the most critical election of my lifetime," Chaudhuri says.

The attorney says the desecration of native sacred sites, the environment and treaty rights for indigenous Americans are at stake.

He is challenging American voter to use their votes to make a better future where Natives work with the federal government for a better future.

"Or do you shirk away from it, out of fear, and go back to old policies that haven't worked in the past," the ambassador says.

Standing Rock and Mauna Kea are seen by many as evidence of how Trump feels about Indigenous peoples.

Good and bad policies from both parties

Muskogee (Creek) ambassador Jonodev O. Chaudhuri - Photo / File

Chaudhuri says loyalty to a particular political party is something indigenous peoples generally avoid.

"Whatever government is in place, it's in Indian countries' interest to work with that government," he says.

"Frankly, good and bad policies have come from both (Democrat and Republican) parties."

Chaudhuri says it's too early to tell who will win the presidency but he wants Natives to vote.

"The most important thing is to go out and vote," he says.

Native communities have served as a moral voice through the 'American story', the combined history of the red and white races, he says.

But he wants Indigenous people to become a strong voting bloc that the federal government will heed out of necessity.

Combating Covid-19

Chaudhuri congratulated Aotearoa for pushing back on Covid-19 and compared the situations of Aotearoa and the USA.

"My hat's off to the Māori people, as well as New Zealand as a whole for the speedy action you took to take protective measures."

He noted many had criticised the Trump administration. The critical consensus was the US President had acted too slowly.

The ambassador said that Native Americans were the ethnic group with the highest Covid-19 death rates, which he said was unacceptable.