Giving Compass' Take:

• As the pandemic hits Native American communities, fortunately, there are Native American-led donation efforts that individuals can support to ensure reservations have access to essential supplies. 

• How can donors increase awareness about the relief efforts needed in Native American communities during this time? 

• Read more about the impact of COVID-19 on Native communities and their workforce. 

As of May 18, the Navajo Nation has the highest per capita coronavirus infection rate in the U.S., surpassing New York and New Jersey.

Unlike other regions, though, the largest reservation in the country is facing the coronavirus pandemic with a drastically limited set of tools. Navajo Nation, which extends into Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona, isn't alone in this: A host of underlying inequalities are currently compounding the threat posed by the coronavirus for all those who live within ancestral territory, as Farina King, an affiliate of the Cherokee and Indigenous studies department at Northeastern State University, told Mashable.

To begin, a lack of access to clean water on many reservations makes the hand washing necessary for curbing coronavirus' spread extremely difficult. (According to a 2019 study from the US Water Alliance and DIGDEEP, Native Americans are more likely to face barriers to water access than any other group in the U.S.) Additionally, King, who is an assistant professor of history, points out that far-flung and sometimes underfunded hospitals and limited grocery store access are contributing to the fast spread and difficult containment of coronavirus on reservations. Further, with many multi-generational homes, the virus can spread quickly within individual households.  On top of that, strict weekend lockdowns imposed by Navajo Nation leadership are also restricting peoples' ability to access some essentials there.

In the meantime, though, there are a number of Native American-led donation efforts that you can support to assist communities on reservations in getting access to essential supplies.

These efforts are being organized by Native American people who are deeply engaged with these communities, which King views as essential: Because of lockdowns, the fact that households on reservations are often spread out, and that some people lack mailing addresses, she points out that it's often proven difficult to get aid to all those who need it. Direct deliveries to those in need can sometimes be the only way for aid to arrive.

Read the full article about helping Native American communities battle coronavirus by Natasha Pinon at Mashable.