HOW HISTORICAL MARGINALIZATION HAS SHAPED THE APPROACH AND OUTLOOK OF A SO CAL NATIVE TRIBE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

In disaster, those in the shadows struggle more than anyone to come to the light.

Historically, marginalized communities and communities of lower socioeconomic status face the harshest wrath of disaster, and the COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception. Communities of color have been affected disproportionately during the pandemic, suffering the most deaths per capita across the U.S.

As the leader of a community marginalized to the fringe dating back to the settlement of America, Rudy Ortega Jr. knew in the spring, when members of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians (FTBMI, known colloquially as “Tataviam”) in Los Angeles County’s San Fernando Valley started becoming affected by COVID-19, that he and his staff would have to be proactive in protecting their community.

“All through our history, we’ve learned we always got to have support for our own community because no one else truly looks towards us and makes sure that we’re safe. We’re always forgotten or lost in the shuffle,” said Ortega, Tataviam’s president.

In addition to closing its office early in the pandemic and moving its family reunion, youth summer camp, and tutoring online, the Tribe began selling masks with its tribal seal online to the general public to support the distribution of free masks to its most vulnerable members, most of whom are elderly.

Read the full interview here: www.coreresponse.org