By Belinda Brooks
Chief Rodger Collum of Butte Tribe in Natchitoches Parish welcomed Durand “Rudy” Macklin, executive director of the La. Dept .of Health, to the historical land tribal lands on Bayou Bourbeaux. Macklin contacted Collum in hopes of meeting with him to discuss emergency preparedness plans for Butte Tribe as it relates to COVID, related quarantines and overall tribal health issues. Macklin is looking at factors that impact the health of native people to determine the adequacy of funding of grants to qualifying tribes by the State.
Native American people have long experienced higher health risks when compared to other Americans within the United States. Within the indigenous community, cultural differences with broad quality of life issues that are rooted in economic adversity and poor social conditions have caused a disproportionate burden of disease and lower life expectancy.
In Natchitoches Parish, as it is throughout the United States, the leading causes of American Indians deaths are heart disease diabetes, accidental injuries and malignant neoplasm. Other health issues that should be mentioned that affect the lives of natives within Natchitoches Parish are addictions such as alcoholism and illegal drugs, Alzheimer’s and essential hypertension diseases.
The life expectancy of Native Americans is 5.5 years less than any other race with the borders of the United States.