When Wes Studi speaks, Indian Country listens, and the hope is that others will, too.
The Oscar-winning actor has earned a well-respected aura through his legendary Hollywood career that has spanned five decades with roles in “Dances with Wolves,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Heat,” “Avatar,” “Hostiles” and several others. He’s also a Vietnam War veteran.
The message Studi (Cherokee) delivers through a public service announcement that was released this week is for people to help Native American communities in the COVID-19 battle.
“It is serious and requires immediate attention,” Studi said in the PSA video. “Housing on reservations is overcrowded and there is a lack of clean water. Our Elders are at greater risk. I thank all the health care workers who have left their homes to assist on the reservations, but more help is needed.”
The announcement is for Partnership With Native Americans, a Native-led nonprofit which helps serve under-resourced reservations. Studi requests donations be made to the organization to help get needed resources to these communities.
“PWNA is delivering food, water and other vital supplies every day, but their warehouses are running low,” he said.
COVID-19 has walloped some Native American communities. This week the Navajo Nation’s number of cases per capita became the highest in the U.S., surpassing New York and New Jersey. In addition to housing and clean water issues, other contributing factors to high numbers are health issues such as diabetes, a disease which Native Americans have the highest prevalence rates of all racial and ethnic groups in the country.
According to PWNA, federal aid has been slow to arrive.
“Every day, remote reservation communities face shortages of food, water and healthcare, and COVID-19 has magnified that reality,” Joshua Arce, PWNA president and CEO, said in a statement. “Donations are critical now as we bring relief to under-resourced communities.”
To donate to PWNA, call 800-416-8102 or click here.