The Malheur County Health Department recognizes National Native American Heritage Month and the importance of health equity efforts on American Indians and Alaska Natives in our communities. 2.1% of Malheur County residents identify their race as American Indian or Alaska Native alone and 2.8% of residents identify with two or more races.
American Indian and Alaska Native people have long experienced lower health status when compared with other Americans. Lower life expectancy and the disproportionate disease burden exist perhaps because of inadequate education, disproportionate poverty, discrimination in the delivery of health services, and cultural differences. These are broad quality of life issues rooted in economic adversity and poor social conditions.
American Indians and Alaska Natives born today have a life expectancy that is 5.5 years less than the U.S. all races population (73.0 years to 78.5 years, respectively). Given the higher health status enjoyed by most Americans, the lingering health disparities of American Indians and Alaska Natives are troubling. Additional information on the Indian Health Service is available at ihs.gov.
Native American Heritage Month, observed every November in the United States, celebrates the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of American Indians and Alaska Natives. This month presents an opportunity to educate the public about the proud history of Indigenous people in America, and to celebrate the rich and diverse tribal cultures that continue to thrive. Today, Native American cultures are alive and evolving within cities, rural communities, tribal communities, and nations across the United States. This month, let’s all celebrate the traditions, languages and stories of Native people and ensure their rich histories and contributions can live on with each passing generation.