Decolonize Indigenous Data in NYS
Indigenous health has suffered from historic and intergenerational trauma which has been exacerbated by racism, disenfranchisement, detrimental data gaps and limitations in health research leading to inaccuracies in data collection, analysis and reported health disparities of Indigenous populations.
Dean Seneca October 2023
Indigenous health has suffered from historic and intergenerational trauma which has been exacerbated by racism, disenfranchisement, detrimental data gaps and limitations in health research leading to inaccuracies in data collection, analysis and reported health disparities of Indigenous populations. Not having accurate or complete data is a health disparity in its self.
While Natives are an integral part of US society, they continue to be removed or absent from reporting due to population size, under counting, and limited surveillance, which spills over into contemporary ignorance and a general lack of awareness of Indigenous People’s needs in healthcare, education, workforce, and overall socioeconomic daily life. This invisibility is perpetuated by policies that leave Indigenous people out of data collection efforts, data reporting, data equity and systems analysis altogether.
Raising awareness to data disparities among the Indigenous populations and with New York State agencies may enhance the accuracy of data collection and dissemination of Indigenous peoples. Currently, data collecting systems are not all encompassing of Indigenous populations, which leads to skewed data results and imperfect measures of the disparities that Native communities face in many socioeconomic aspects. These include life expectancy, chronic & infectious diseases, prevalence, incidence, mortality, Morbidity, injury, and other measures, all of which are further exacerbated by poor infrastructure and systemic racism, as well as lack of funding.
We need to improve health data collection systems and records with the intention to discern the racial group “other” into specific tribal nations, as each tribal nation is vastly different from the next in terms of health outcomes, needs, economic stability, socioeconomic status, and infectious & chronic disease illnesses. Without proper data collection and recording, the Indigenous population is at a disadvantage in many realms, including program planning initiatives based on individual tribal needs, screening programs for chronic disease, amount of funding received per tribal nation, and overall health outcomes.
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