How the Indigenous Investigative Collective brought together journalists across the country to investigate missing COVID-19 data
Members of the Indigenous Investigative Collective recently joined MuckRock for a webinar to discuss how they’ve used records laws, data analysis and reporting to understand the impact of COVID-19 on communities, with a particular focus on Navajo Nation, including how a patchwork of transparency laws left key questions unanswered.
Webinar: How the Indigenous Investigative Collective use public records to show dire gaps in COVID-19 data access
In May of 2020, the Navajo Nation reported one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the United States. But even the dire official numbers didn’t tell the full story. The Native American Journalists Associations Indigenous Investigative Collective brought together three newsrooms to launch a public records campaign to dig into how a mix of varying access rules and bureaucratic intransigence have made it impossible to get a full, complete picture of the pandemic.
Over the past six months, we’ve been expanding our collaborative outlets with newsrooms around the country. Recently, we were notified that one of those efforts we supported with training, FOI assistance, and a reporting stipend, a report on policing by the Chicago Crusader, was almost entirely lifted from other outlets as well as existing material available online.
For Lakeidra Chavis’ “Aftershocks” series on the experience of surviving gun violence in Chicago, she looked at nearly 15,000 claims the state processed between 2015 and 2020 for victim compensation. Less than 4 in 10 applicants in Illinois received any reimbursement. That data, and much, were available thanks to public records requests, and in this guide Chavis’ share how she obtained, analyzed, and reported on this under-investigated issue.
A broken system: Why the number of American Indian and Alaska Natives who have died during the coronavirus pandemic may never be known
In May of 2020, the Navajo Nation reported one of the highest per-capita COVID-19 infection rates in the United States. Since that milestone, official data reveal that the Navajo Nation has been one of the hardest-hit populations since the pandemic began. The Navajo Nation boasts the largest population of any Indigenous nation in the United States, and thousands of Navajos live outside the nation, in towns along the border, cities across the country, and in other parts of the world, making it difficult to tally the virus’ impacts on Navajo citizens.