Air pollution is a major health threat for Indigenous communities. Indigenous adults and children have higher rates of many diseases linked to air pollution, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). And climate change is an increasing threat to Indigenous people, as hotter temperatures and drier conditions alter traditional foodways and trigger catastrophic wildfires on and near Tribal lands.
Between 2.5 and 6 million Indigenous people live in the United States, where generations of systemic abuses have often led to chronic poverty, poor health care, and substandard housing. By almost any measure, public health among Indigenous people lags behind public health among other groups. These health disparities reflect centuries of genocide, persecution, discrimination, and neglect.
To shed much-needed light on the relationship between air quality, climate change, and public health on Indigenous people, Moms Clean Air Force and the National Tribal Air Association (NTAA) have partnered on a new report, “Air Quality in Indigenous Communities.” To launch this important resource, Moms Clean Air Force and NTAA also aired a roundtable conversation about the impacts of air pollution and climate change on Indigenous communities on social media.
The new report is a first-of-its-kind summary of the ways air pollution and climate change interact with underlying health disparities in Indigenous communities. It includes examples of Indigenous communities responding to these problems and implementing solutions.
It is an honor to partner in this work with the National Tribal Air Association, an organization that advances air quality management policies and programs, consistent with the needs, interests, and unique legal status of American Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives. NTAA was founded in 2002 with a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency. NTAA is one of the nation’s largest Tribal membership organizations with over 150 member Tribes and governed by an Executive Committee of two Tribal leaders from each EPA region and Alaska.
Our new partnership continues the mission, central to what we do at Moms Clean Air Force’s mission, to work towards Justice in Every Breath. Learn more about our work in Indigenous communities, and see all of our related articles and resources, here.