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Faculty Publication on Death and Dying in Indigenous Communities

With the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affecting Indigenous communities, we must recognize the invisibility of these inequities as a contemporary form of historical oppression with devastating and unacceptable consequences.

Associate Professor Dr. Catherine McKinley along with City, Culture, and Community (CCC) doctoral candidate Jennifer Miller Scarnato and Dr. Sara Sanders of the University of Iowa School of Social Work recently published "Why Are So Many Indigenous Peoples Dying and No One Is Paying Attention? Depressive Symptoms and 'Loss of Loved Ones' as a Result and Driver of Health Disparities" in OMEGA - Journal of Death and Dying.

"Death of loved ones in Indigenous communities is problematic given higher mortality rates and tight-knit nature of communities, often characterized by extended family units, wherein community members experienced the effects of these losses more acutely. The presence of cumulative losses of multiple family members—often in a short time span and at premature ages—was evident across both tribes. Exemplifying the far-reaching impacts of these losses in close-knit communities and family-oriented cultures, female participants described losing a loved one as having “lost everything,” including a part of themselves."

Read more of the abstract and access the full article here.